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Full text of "Omni Magazine (May 1992)"

FOOD FOR THOUGHT! THE OMNI BRAIN DIET 



JlTjTlT 



1HE BRAIN AND AGING: MYTHS AND REAIITIES* 

FREDERIK POHLON SCIENCING TODAY* MUSEUMS 

YOU CAN TOUCH 'AND FOUR SCIENCE FICTION 

STORIES YOU CANNOT! 





I S3.50 MAY )992 




€)nnmi 



EDITOR IN CHIEF & DESIGN DIRECTOR: BOB GUCCIOrE 



PRESIDENTS C.O.O.: KATHY KEETON 

EDITOR: KEITH FERRELL 
GRAPHICS DIRECTOR: FRANK DEVINO 
MANAGING EDITOR: CAROLINE DARK 

ART DIRECTOR: DWAYNE FLINCHUM 



DEPARTMENTS 

6 

First Word 

By Michael Murphy 

The next step in evolution 

10 

Communications 

Readers' writes 

14 

Arts 

By Joe Dziemianowicz 

Painting Alzheimer's 

16 

Mind 

By Jeff Goldberg 

Faces in the crowd 

IS 

Political Science 

By Tom Dworetzl^y 

The spin doctor is in 

30 

Digs 

By Kathleen I^cAuliffe 

Dating cave paintings 

22 

Funds 

By Linda Marsa 

Malting green greenbacks 

24 

Electronic Universe 

By Gregg Keizer 

Simulations: almost like 

the real thing 

26 

Earth 

By Cherri Senders 

Quake-proof fciuildings 

96 

Games 

By Scot Morris 

A potpourri of puzzles 




The mind holds infinite mysteries, as suggested by 
Stanislaw Fernandes' cover illustration 

Among the most fascinating is the effect it exerts 
on our bodies — and consequently our 

health. {Additional art and photo credits, page 92) 



Continuum 
40 

Mental Muscle 

By Kathy Keeton 

Using your head can 

pay off in the 

long run — with a longer, 

healthier life. 

SO 

Interactive Museums 

By Ivlargaret Wertheim 

Tfiese days, some 

museums want you to 

touch, not look. 

58 

Fiction: The Eye of the 

Beholder 
A painting inspires varied 

stories from 

Samuel R. Delany, Lucius 

Shepard, Leigh 

Kennedy and Joyce 

Carol Gates. 

67 

Chasing Science 

By Frederik Pohl 

To find out the latest in 

science, drop 

in at the annual AAAS 

conference. 

73 

Interview 

By Douglas Stein 

Neurobiologist 
Sarah Leibowitz's 

research 

shows why we eat. 

79 

Anti-Matter 



OMNI (ISSN 014957)- 
Broad-way, New York, r 
TEH-. Send 



<) monltily in \li8 Uniled Steles and Canada hy Omni Publtaalions Iniernational Ud., 1965 
ew rorn, m iuu,:j-o»d5. Second-class poslage paid al New Vofk, NY, and at addiliona! mailing oHicss. POSTMAS- 
ldresschange5lo0iiiniMaga;ine,Posl0Hice Box 3041. Harlan, !A 51537-3041. Volume 14, Number a. Ct^y-^i 
by Omm Publications Inlemational Ltd. All rights reserved. Tsl l-BOO-239-6664; (212) 496-6100. 0N1NI is a^^ 
registered tradema/l^ of Omni Puljllcalions InlernaBoral Ltd, Printed in til© USA by R.R. Donnelley S Sons inc. and distributed in 
the USA, Canada, United Stales territorial possessions, and ttie world {sxcepl Australia and Iris UK) by Curtis CirculaQon Compa- 
ny, 433 Hackensack Avenue, Haokensack, 1^ 07601. Distribijled In Australia by Tlie Horowitz Group. P.O. Box 306, Cammeray 
NSW 2062 Australia and in trie UK Dy Northern and Shell Pic, P.O. Bo>; 3S1, Miiiriarbour, London E14 9TW Entire contents 
copyrighted. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part witrioul written permission from the publisher. Any similarity between 
places or persons mentioned in trie fiction or serrlifiotion and real places or persons iiuing or dead is coincidental. Subscriptions: 
U.S., AFO— $24 one year; Canada and elsewhere— 528 one year. Single copies 13,50 in U.S., AFO, and Canada. Telephone; 
1 -300-289-6664. The publisher disclaims all responsibility lo return unsolicited matter, and all rights in pmtions thereof remain 



FIRST lAJDRD 



THE FUTURE OF THE BODY: 

Explorations into the further evolution of human nature 

By Michael Murphy 



H 



The fact that certain 
human events 
apparently violate 
assumptions of 
contemporary science 
does not require 
us to deny the evi- 
dence of them. 




I jor steps toward yet an- 
other epochal transition. For cer- 
tain types of extraordinary human 
development, I believe, herald a 
third evoiutionary transcendence. 
With them, a new level of exis- 
tence has begun to appear on 
earth, one whose patterns cannot 
be specified by physics, biology, 
or mainstream social science. 

As life developed from inorgan- 
ic elements and humankind from 
its primate ancestors, a new ev- 
olutionary domain is tentatively ris- 
ing in the human race, both spon- 
taneously and by transformative 
practice, and it was made possi- 
ble by quantum jumps in devel- 
opments such as the discovery 
of fire, the emergence of lan- 
guage, and the birth of religious 
awareness. Certain human attrib- 
utes that characterize this emer- 
gent level of development include 
the unitive awarenesses de- 
jLribed by religious mystics, ego- 
rrsnscending love for others, self- 
existenl delight, super-abundant 
italtty, contact with entities or 
'.ents that are inaccessible to 
the ordinary senses, and the trans- 
mission of thoughts, volitions, and 
ecstatic states through extraso- 
matic modalities. 

Most of these attributes are ev- 
ident, however briefly, in the 
course of everyday life, but their 
sustained realization comprises a 
break with ordinary human activ- 
ity, and their lasting integration by 
many people would constitute a 
new kind of life on this planet. 
They are also frequently marked 
off from ordinary functioning by a 
sense Ihey convey of something 
beyond the familiar patterns of 
our existence. Jewish, Christian, 
and Moslem mystics, for exam- 
ple, typically attribute them to 
God's blessedness, mercy, or 
grace; Buddhists to the omnipres- 
ent Buddha-Mind; Hindus to Di- 



vinity's shakti, or world-power; 

and Taoists to the Way, or Tac. 
When some athletes experience 
them, they say they are "zoned," 
Martial artists have called them 
the action of sunyam, or Empti- 
ness, "through human hands and 
feet." And more commonly, 
when we have a spiritual insight 
that lifts us to certitudes we have 
not expehenced before, or when 
we surprise ourselves by accom- 
plishing some extraordinary 
deed, we might say that "some- 
thing came over us," that we 
were "earned away" The recog- 
nition of ego-transcendent pow- 
ers is reflected in religious terms 
and our common language. That 
recognition of a Something be- 
yond, I propose, coupled with our 
inability to specify its operations 
in us, points toward a new l<ind 
of human development. We don't 
know where our new vision, love, 
or joy came from, or how we ef- 
fected our marveious deed pre- 
cisely because such things are un- 
familiar and because their medi- 
ations are related to something 
emergent in us. 

Their radical novelty and non- 
ordinary causes, then, suggest 
that extraordinary capacities are 
instances of a new type of evolu- 
tion that has patterns which dis- 
tinguish it from ordinary psycho- 
social development. Conversely, 
however, it might be concluded 
that because they resist verifica- 
tion by standard scientific proce- 
dures and often appear to violate 
certain scientific assumptions, 
some of these extraordinary hu- 
man attributes do not — or can- 
not — exist. And indeed, that is 
what many scientists and philos- 
ophers argue: The fact that tele- 
pathic empathy (or spiritual heal- 
ing) cannot be demonstrated in 
controlled experiments proves ip- 
so facto that such things are fig- 
ments of the imagination. Howev- 
er, the apparent violation of nat- 



ural laws that scientists invoke 
against extraordinary functioning 
can be taken as signs that such 
functioning is part of a new do- 
main, one that transcends ordi- 
nary human activity and methods 
developed to study it. 

Every domain that science has 
illumined has required unique ap- 
proaches and appropriate instru- 
ments. Astronomy needed the op- 
tical telescope and Newton's cal- 
culus; depth psychology has de- 
pended upon subjective report. 
None of tfiese fields could have 
developed without concepts and 
methods adequate to them. And 
the same holds for extraordinary 
human attributes. They, too, 
must be studied and developed 
with appropriate methods and the- 
ories, including anthropological 
field studies, psychical research, 
and contemplative discipline. 

I believe that the self-evident 
break with normal consciousness 
and behavior, the transcendence 
of certain needs, and the self- 
mastery of mind and flesh char- 
acteristic of metanormal function- 
ing would, if realized by enough 
people, create a new kind of life 
on this planet. This new life 
would involve new types of social 
interaction, new styles of energy 
consumption, greater care for the 
physical environment, more wis- 
dom in dealing with human ag- 
gressiveness, new rituals of 
work and play. As it began to ap- 
pear among large groups, such 
functioning might not appear, at 
first, so dramatic that it comprised 
a new kind of evolution, but it 
would, I believe, eventually exhib- 
it features and regularities we can- 
not predict from the patterns of or- 
dinary human existence. DO 



Copyright (c) 1992 by Michael Murphy, 
From the book The Fiiture of the Body. 
Reprinted witti permission from Jeremy P, 
Tarcher. Inc,, Los Angeles, Caillornia, 





cDnnrmuruicATiDms 

READERS' WRITES; 

Driving questions, raising the psyclne, and 

the unbeatable lightness 



Future or Bused 

In Wheels [January 1992], Jeffrey Zyg- 

mont highlights one proposed plan to 

control heavy automobile traffic on our 
ration's troubled highways: "smart ve- 
hicles," sensor-rigged Fords, and 
BMWs that run on autopilot while riders 
"read the comics or snooze" on their 
way to work. Only 20 years and a mere 
£250 billion away. What a scam! Cheap- 
er "automatic chauffeurs" already ex- 
ist and are used by "smart people." 
They're called buses. 

Mike Murray 
Beiievue, PA 

Seeking Asylum 

In the February issue, the article 
"Asylum" tells the story of Semyon 
Gluzman.'who fought against repres- 
sive psychiatry in the Soviet Union for 
years. He is now trying to raise money 
to publish the Russian version of the Di- 
agnostic Syndromes Manual, the bible 
of present-day psychiatry. Where 
could I send a contribution to 
Gluzman? Perhaps others would like to 
do the same. 

Albert Haley, Jr. 
Rowley, MA 

Editor's note: Tax-deductible contribu- 
tions may be sent to Semyon Gluzman 
in care of Ellen Mercer. American Psy- 
chiatric Association. Department of In- 
ternational Affairs, 1400 K Street NW, 
Washington, DC 20005. Mat<e checi<:s 
payable to APA. 

The Facts of Light 

In "51 Things You Must Know" [Janu- 
ary 1992], item 29 asserts that "Sunlight 
has weight because it exerts pressure 
on anything it encounters." That is a mis- 
conception. College physics teaches us 
that light has no mass. Since weight is 
a consequence of mass and gravity, 
light has no weight. Light can exert a 
force, and force per unit area is pres- 
sure. You also state, "A square mile of 
sunlight weighs about three pounds." 
That's nonsense. High-school geome- 
try teaches us that area has no volume. 
With no volume, there is no mass. Even 



the surface area of a neutron star, a 
very dense object, has no mass. 

Joseph Gasidio 
Idaho Falls, ID 

Or Richard Palmer. Duke University 
physics professor replies: The letter writ- 
er is technically correct but he's being 
pedantic and picky about Omni's use 
of colloquial language to explain this. 
Omni uses a legitimate metaphor— in 
fact, paints a very pretty picture. 

The Final Frontier 

Arthur C. Clarke's small article about 
Gene Roddenberry [February 1992] 
was one of the best tributes that I have 
seen or read. Thank you, 

Andrew Grain 
Pullman, WA 

Power to the People 

Columnist Tom Dworetzky [Political Sci- 
ence, February 1992] argues that 
while a computer-based system of 
pure democracy would give the people 
full control over government, such del- 
egation of governmental responsibility 
to the masses wouid be unwise. The 
counterpoint is this: If the people find 
themselves being lied to enough, they 
will have the power to stop it. This pow- 
er, in the hands of all people, will make 
the many roadblocks that impede gov- 
ernment unnecessary. The roadblocks, 
called checks and balances, are there 
to help prevent too much power from 
going into too few hands. When 
everyone holds an equal piece of pow- 
er, there will be no need for political 
deals and compromises, 

James Mays III 
Blue Mountain, MS 

FVI 

I enjoyed your initials quiz [Games] in 
the February issue. I encountered a per- 
plexing set of initials while shopping re- 
cently The letters OSFA were on the 
size labels inside T-shirts. Inquiring 
about their meaning, I grinned at the re- 
sponse: One Size Fits All. 

Carol Silverman Saunders 
Livingston, NJOO 



ARTS 



THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: 

The artist's subject is her mother, a victim of Alzheimer's 

By Joe Dziemianowicz 



Zabbia's 

"To the Bright 

Light of 

Death til" (acrylic) 



■ tf% ■ hile pioneers in the hot 
I I I I new field of virtual re- 
\m \m ality tinl<er with technol- 
ogy in allowing one person to lit- 
erally see through another per- 
son's eyes, some visual artists of- 
fer the same perspective 
through their work. The visual 
arts, at their best, succeed in trans- 
porting audiences into a specific 
individual's shoes, that — if only 
momentarily^ gives the viewer a 
new vantage point from which to 
see the world. 

Artist Kim Howes Zabbia pro- 
vides an extraordinary example of 
an artist's ability to go beyond 
mere metaphor and to give con- 
crete shc^De and meaning to the 
concept of seeing the world ' 
through another's eyes. In 1990 
she began work on a series of 52 
paintings called Voyage Back to 
the ]M3mb: Looking Through the 
Eyes of Alzheimer's. The artist's 
subject is her mother, the former 
journalis! Lou Howes, who has suf- 
fered from Alzheimer's disease 
since 1983. 

Zabbia began painting about 
her mother's inner experience af- 
ter Howes, then 65, was no long- 
er able to put her thoughts clear- 
ly on paper. The paintings evoke 
despair, illustrating a proud per- 
sonality's growing disorientation 
and distress. Using chaotic anc 
surrealistic images, ZabbJi 
work artistically reflects the AL 
heimer's-induced disorientatim 
that has turned her mother's life 
into what she calls "an Alice in 
Wonderland existence." 

The artist uses overlapping im 
ages to depict her mother's tor- 
tured inability to express herself 
verbally in several works, includ- 
ing "Nerves Kiss Before They 
Die" and "Constricted Messag- 
es." Shapes overlap or flow from 
one amorphous form into another. 
Faces and figures appear in un-. 
expected places. "I wanted to 
paint what was going o/i in her 



mind, to go In there and try to 

feel what she was feeling," Zab- 
bia says. That would be no easy 
task considering how inexplica- 
ble the disease can seem. 

Alzheimer's, a degenerative 
brain disorder, begins with occa- 
sional memory lapses and pro- 
gresses relentlessly to total psy- 
chological decline and depend- 
ence The disease has no l<nown 
cure, and worldwide, it afflicts an 
estimated 33 million people over 
the age of 65, according to the 
Alzheimer's Association in Chica- 
go, Illinois. 

Researching the origins and 
progression of the disease, Zab- 
bia learned how the intellectual 
impairment associated with it 
stems from microscopic brain- 
ceil changes called neurofibrillary 
tangles. As the tangles multiply, 
memory, attention, and orienta- 
tion in time and space deterio- 
rate "I kept thinking aboutthe tan 
gles literal and figurative in her 
brain says Zabbia Paintings ti 




tied 'Tangled Memories l-V" sym- 
bolize the short-circuited, less- 
than-total recall. In "Tangled I," 
Howes appears silhouetted 
against the crook of a sturdy 
tree, explosive snarls of red, 
blue, and green vines flowering 
out around the void where her 
brain should be. Zabbia's con- 



cern for her mother's future in- 
spires the darkest, "most acid, in- 
tense, and mysterious" works of 
her voyage — as in "To the Bright 
Light of Death III," It speaks 
most clearly of the disease's irrep- 
arable finality 

Howes' personal journey has 
been a slow one. Living with her 
husband in their Ponchatoula, 
Louisiana, home, she can never 
be left alone because of the over- 
whelming terror that solitude 
brings, "Her night hallucinations 
and wanderings have increased 
In frequency and intensity," Zab- 
bia says. 

While some viewers find the se- 
ries upsetting, others report that 
it has given them a new way to 
relate to the disease and a bet- 
ter understanding of the Alzheim- 
er's patient's private voyage. The 
paintings were exhibited in 
March at Louisiana State Univer- 
sity in Baton Rouge, where Zab- 
bia will receive her master's of 
fine art this month, two weeks af- 
ter Mother's Day 

Looking to the future, the art- 
ist hopes to publish a book 
which she says is neither 
"artbook, nor science book, it's 
not autobiography or even moth- 
er-daughter. II is, instead, all of 
those things." 

The book will contain color 
photographs of the art as well as 
written text by Zabbia, But prob- 
ably the most profound writing 
will be the personal notes from 
the artist's mother's journal. It is 
there that one could see the de- 
generative effects of the disease 
most clearly. 

As Howes wrote in her last jour- 
nal entry before losing the ability 
to communicate on paper, "1 
wish that you could know, when 
something new comes up, wheth- 
er it is normal old age or the re- 
sult of Al. I doubt that there is very 
much difference. Whichever it is, 
It is rotten," DO 



nnimn 



THE EMPTY MIRROR: 

A bizarre brain injury sheds light on the conscious mind 

By Jeff Goldberg 



She may know 

this is the 

face of a happy 

young woman, 

but not know it's 

the face of 

her daughter. 

Even her 

own face in ffie 

mirror is 

unfamiliar, a 

reflection 

devoid of identity. 



The plight of patient "E. 
H." was reminiscent of a 
Twilight Zone episode. 
One morning she woke up un- 
able to recognize the faces of her 
husband and daughter. Although 
she could still identify her loved 
ones by voice and physical man- 
nerisms, theirs were like faces in 
a crowd, stripped of meaning. 

Tests performed at the Univer- 
sity of Iowa College of Medicine 
by neurologist Antonio Damasio 
revealed that E. H. had suffered 
a stroke, resulting in a rare con- 
dition called face agnosia 
in which brain damage im- 
pairs only a victim's ability 
to recognize faces while all 
other mental functions re- 
main intact. E. H, could not 
Identify the face of a single 
relative or friend, either in per- 
son or from photographs; 
nor could she learn to recog- 
nize new faces such as 
Damasio's. Yet she dn 
played normal learning and 
memory read without diffi 
culty, and she had 20/20 vi 
sion in both eyes. 

Such case histories are 
not isolated anomalies in 
Damasio's clinical practice 
For 20 years he has stud 
led face agnosia in an ef- 
fort not only to diagnose its 
cause, but to identify under- 
lying brain structures re- 
sponsible for the ability to recog- 
nize the vast catalog of faces 
encountered in a lifetime. 

To probe for answers to the 
mystehes of face recognition and 
its sudden loss, Damasio routine- 
ly relies on his wife Hanna, a neu- 
rologist and anatomist, who spe- 
cializes in advanced imaging sys- 
tems like magnetic resonance 
and CAT scans. These tools en- 
able her to create detailed graph- 
ic reconstructions of the dam- 
aged areas responsible for the 
symptoms of face agnosia and oth- 



er puzzling amnesic syndromes. 
While the inability to recognize 
faces can be symptomatic of a 
more widespread deterioration of 
brain cells, such as in late-stag* 
Alzheimer's disease, the Damasi 
OS have found that injuries caus- 
ing the pure form of face agnosia 
are usually confined to specific re- 
gions. Most often affected are ar- 
eas Damasio calls convergence 
zones, which link circuits of neu- 
rons processing visual informa- 
tion with other streams o! senso- 
ry information, like the sound ol 




a voice or the movement of some- 
one's gestures. These conver- 
gence zones are connected to 

higher brain centers of memory 
function and storage. 

These many levels of circuitry 
normally contribute to the sense 
of familiarity we feel when we see 
someone we know. But In pa- 
tients with face agnosia, this cir- 
cuit is broken at some critical junc- 
ture. They can still recognize an 
individual's voice or gait. Nor do 
they lose the general concept of 
faces or the ability to recognize 



and relate appropriately to expres- 
sions like anger, sadness, and joy, 
Damasio points out. "They will still 
know the expression and that a 
face is a face. The breakdown is at 
the level of uniqueness." 

Damasio's conclusion thai 
face recognition — and perhaps 
awareness in general — takes 
place simultaneously on levels of 
brain processing circuits was dra- 
matically illustrated in a recent ex- 
pehment.- Using a device similar 
to a lie detector, Damasio and 
Daniel Tranel measured skin-con- 
ductance responses of 
four patients with severe 
face agnosia, but no other 
intellectual impairment, to 
see how they would re- 
spond on a nonconscious 
level'to photographs of fam- 
ily physicians, famous ac- 
tors, and politicians. In ev- 
ery case, the patients' pro- 
nounced physical re- 
sponses indicated that 
some form of recognition 
was occurring, even 
though they could not ver- 
ba ly distinguish familiar 
f^ce from strange. 

Damasio thinks such 
covert" recognition may 
be a type of internal-alert 
mechanism, triggering the 
succession of orchestrated 
responses that ultimately 
converge in the conscious 
flash we call recognition. "Recog- 
nition in the true sense must be 
conscious," Damasio adds. 
"When you recognize your moth- 
er or the president on TV, you reg- 
ister not only the physical char- 
acteristics of that face and the 
fact that you've seen it before, 
but much of the history making 
that face unique is recalled simul- 
taneously. In these patients the 
brain is clearly signaling it knows 
a particular face, but the person 
cannot solve the mystery behind 
the mask,"00 



POLITICAL SCIEfUCE 

ORIGINAL SPIN: 

Has reality been entirely banished from politics? 

By Tom Dworetzky 



Two golden 

rules of 

spin management: 

Read my 

lips— talk in sound 

bites' and 

no matter what the 

questions keep 

repeating 

your messages 



In politics there's an unbridge- 
able gap between real 
ttioughts about real problems 
and the easy messages that seil 
you into office. Into this breech 
flock quotemeisters and spindoc- 
tors, all flapping their sound 
bites and good visuals like pat- 
ent medicine — guaranteed to 
cure whatever ails you. 

Such manipulations aren't new, 
of course. In the 1890s French so- 
ciologist Gustavo Le Bon wrote in 
his ground-breaking work, The 
Crowd, that if you repeat a lie of- 
ten enough from enough different 
sources, people will begin to be- 
lieve it is true, This is arguably the 
prime axiom of spin 

Today the science of spin has 
reached new Orwellian heights — 
or depths— With the periection of 
a bound bite pseudorealitv In the 




dark ages of public speaking, 
about 1968, when the average 
sound bite was over 40 seconds, 
a former TV producer named Rog- 
er Ailes rode into town with a bet- 
ter idea, according to spin-schol- 
ar and professor of communica- 
tions Daniel Hallin of the Universi 
ty of California, San Diego. 
"Ailes worked with the Nixon 
paign producing TV appearanc- 
es. He did them as if they were 
TV shows. Among other things, 
he'd measure Nixon's answers 
and, if they were too long, tell him 
to shorten them," 

This revelation over packaging 
dovetailed nicely with the commer- 
cial pressure starting to squeeze 
down on local news. Fancy con- 
sultants toured the country exhort- 
ing stations to pick up the pace 
of their broadcasts — to make 
them more like entertainment by 
shortening segments and sound 
bites. In years since, similar pres- 
sures have forced similar McfMug- 
getting of the network news and 
print media, too. 

These changes radically mod- 
ified the source-press relation- 
ship, especially when combined 
with the three golden rules of mod- 
ern spin-management: 1. Head 
my//ps; Talk in sound bites. 2, No 
matter what the question, keep re- 
pealing your message so there 
aren't any other usable quotes 
from you. 3. Don't give the press 
any news to report other than 
what you want covered. 

In -self-defense — since we jour- 
nalists know when we're getting 
torqued — we've responded by 
opening the package with what 
are called news-analysis pieces. 
In these we take apart the ads 
and examine the spin — not the 
contents. We reduce the political 
debate to a horse race between 
competing media campaigns. 

By focusing on the horse-race 
aspect and not the underlying Is- 
sue, the press, the candidates. 



and nation fixate on the descrip- 
tion of the thing rather than the 
thing itself. We spend all our 
time critiquing ad campaigns. We 
pick a president by the way he 
handles an ad campaign. "Is 
this even a good way to discuss 
political issues," ask Hallin, 
"through thirty-second ads?" 
Well, it's easier for a journalist 
like me to analyze an ad cam- 
paign in technical terms than to 
talk about the truth or wisdom of 
a political plan. On the technical 
side, I can produce polls that show 
how effective the ads were. I can 
get communications experts to 
opine on the pros and cons of any 
campaign. On the other hand, I 
haven't the faintest idea how to ex- 
plain why giving us each a doll^ a 
day more (Bush's "tax plan") will fix 
the economy. I haven't even fig- 
ured out how a straight, across-the- 
board 13 percent no-loophole in- 
come tax (Jerry Brown's tax 
plan) will prevent the rich from 
structuring their incomes so they 
don't show any. I'm not sure any 
of the politicians or their advisors 
can explain this stuff, either. Part 
of the problem is that underneath 
all the pomp and circumstance of 
politics is complex reality in 
which problems don't always 
come in explainable sizes and 
shapes, don't always have solu- 
tions, and in which chance, fate. 
destiny, luck — whatever you call 
it — plays a large and chaotic 
part. All combine to tell us things 
none of us want to hear about the 
vicissitudes of the human condi- 
tion. So unpleasant is this news 
that, while we may not shoot the 
messenger, we will never elect 
him, either. 

That's why we'd all rather nib- 
ble on sound bites and assess 
the ad campaigns. To bite-ify Pla- 
to's Republic (the allegory of the 
cave): It's easier to talk atDout the 
shadows on the cave wall and 
leave the fire alone. DQ 



'Jump Up And Kiss Me," I Said. 




How to jump Up and Kiss Someoffe: l/= 02. Myers's Origino! Dark Rum, 4 oz pineapple juite / c lime imce dash of bitters 



TAKING THE GUESSWORK OUT OF DATING: 

A new technique accurately determines the age of ancient cave paintings 

By Kathleen McAuliffe 



Advances in 
plasma chemistry 
tiave iieiped 
researciiers ascer- 
tain the age of 



these cave paint- 
ings found 
near the Pecos 
River in 
southwest Texas. 



Vibrantly colored figures 
silently march across a 
cave wall in southwest 
Texas. Nearby, another wall un- 
dulates with monochrome, ab- 
stract, geometric forms — waver- 
ing lines, circles, crisscrosses- 
repeating hypnotically 

The drawings stretch from 
floor to ceiling in the limestone 
caves and overhangs of tfie low- 
er Pecos River region. Occupied 
from roughly 5,000 B.C. until the 
Spanish invasion in the sixteenth 
century, these ancient galleries 
house some of the oldest and 
most impressive rocl< art in the 
New World. 



pictographs' content and style to 
"guesstimate" their age. Alas, 
this approach leaves much room 
for error. "At best," says anthro- 
pologist Harry Shafer of Texas 
A&Iv) University in College 
Station, "we could say that a pic- 
tograph was painted within a 
time frame of some 2,000 to 
3,000 years," 

To overcome this limitation, 
Shafer sought the assistance of 
colleague Marvin Rowe, a chem- 
istry professor v^lti expertise in dat- 
ing meteorites and other cosmo- 
logical objects, Rowe found the 
cave-painting dilemma botfi in- 
triguing and challenging. "I'm ac- 




canl)unter gathwrersof Asiatfcde 
scent, but they don't know when 
the long-vanished tribes created 
the paintings. Until recently 
there existed no reliable means of 
dating the pictographs; standard 
carbon -dating techniques cannot 
distinguish between the carbon in 
the paint and the carbon in the 
limestone "canvas." 

Consequently, anthropologists 
have been forced to rely on the 



u tu ed tj G-i u rj the age 
of art facts n 1 llions of yearb i ut 
thousands of years, he explains. 
But he and chemists Marian Hy- 
man and Jon Russ appear to 
have come up with a winning so- 
lution. Their technique can date 
pictographs made from paints con- 
taining a wide range of organic 
"binders" — blood, urine, honey, 
and many other natural substanc- 
es used by primitive people to 
iDind together pigments. 
The new dating technique ex- 



ploits advances in plasma chem- 
istry to separate the paint's organ- 
ic components from inorganic con- 
taminants that distort the age read- 
ing. For testing, Rowe's team gath- 
ers paint chips that have flal<ed 
off the walls and scrapes paint off 
them, but "unfortunately," Rowe 
says, "we get a lot more rock 
than paint." To isolate the organ- 
ic source of carbon, the scientists 
treat the specimen with an oxy- 
gen plasma. It combines only 
with the organic carbon in the 
paint because the carbon in the 
limestone rock is already in a ful- 
ly oxidized, stable state. The reac- 
tion of the plasma and the organ- 
ic carbon produces gaseous car- 
bon dioxide, which is collected 
as dry ice and dated by well- 
established accelerator-mass- 
spectrometry methods that com- 
pare the number of radioactive car- 
bon isotopes and stable carbon 
isotopes in the sample. 

In the first thai, the technique 
found the painted fragment to be 
3,865 years old (plus or minus 
100 years), a date that jibed per- 
fectly with an independent ar- 
chaeological estimate that sug- 
gested the pictograph was be- 
tween 4,100 and 3,200 years old. 

Since that first trial, the research- 
ers have tested several more pic- 
tographs from the lower Pecos as 
well as still-older pigments from 
caves In Brazil, Once again, the 
results were compatible with ar- 
chaeologists' expectations. 

If the new approach continues 
to prove accurate, Shafer hopes 
to gain fresh insights into the 
roie that pictographs played in 
these long-vanished cultures, "F%r- 
haps the symbols In the picto- 
graphs were used to communi- 
cate with supernatural forces," he ' 
speculates, "If so, maybe we'll 
find a correlation between cre- 
ative outbursts and times of fam- 
ine, overpopulation, and other up- 
heavals in the culture," DO 



FUfUDS 



THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT: 

Cashing in on environmentally sound investments 

By Linda Marsa 



If concerns 

lor the fate of the 

earth dictate 

your investment 

choices, you 






//beo 



'the 
e of the 



make a 
bundle of money. 




It's the rlas'^iL David and Goliath 
story But in this instance the 
folks with the ';ling"tiot are the 
stewards at the tielms of the na- 
tion's top environmental mutual 
funds — and !he guys with tlie 
black eyes are the high-priced 
Wall Street mavins. New Agers 
call It karma, but environmental- 
ist investors take a more moralis- 
tic stance: Virtue pays — and 
pays quite well. 

In 1991, the environmental sec- 
tor funds that invest only in com- 
panies which genuinely contrib- 
ute to cleaning up the environ- 
ment turned in excellent perform- 
ances. Eco'Logical Trust shot up 
36,08 percent; the Global Environ- 
mental Fund posted gains of 24 
percent; and New Alternatives 
was up 25,6 percent, Schield Pro- 
gressive Environmental Fund start- 
ed 1992 with a 17-percent gain. 
These funds rigidly screen out the 
corporate bad guys from their port- 
folios. Almost all of the funds that 
don't discriminate didn't even 
keep pace with the Dow. 

"There's never been a head- 
on challenge like this— and the 
stringent environmentalists won," 
crows Peter Camejo, president of. 
Progressive Asset Management, 
an Oakland, California, b;:okerage 



that specializes in socially respon- 
sible investments. "This proves 
the prevailing wisdom — sacrifice 
profits for principles — is wrong — 
dead wrong." 

Before you take the plunge, 
though, experts warn that all that 
glitters is not green. Many mutu- 
aJ funds are using the trend to- 
ward clean and green as an ad- 
vertising gimmick to cash in on 
the tidal wave of Interest in ecol- 
ogically sound investments. 
Some environmental funds have 
holdings in companies like Brown- 
ing-Ferris Industries and Waste 
Management, the nation's largest 
waste collection and disposal com- 
panies, which collectively paid 
more than $45 million In fines to . 
the EPA and other agencies in 
the past decade and have been 
hit with over a thousand citations 
at 50 dump sites. Hardly sterling 
examples of social worthiness. 

"Environmental funds had a tre- 
mendous appeal when they first 
hit the market in 1989, but no one 
put a lot of thought in applying so- 
cial criteria," says James Phillips, 
vice president of the socially re- 
sponsible investment division of 
Sutro & Company in Los Angeles. 
He says only three public funds 
use stringent social screens: 
Schield Progressive, New Alterna- 
tives, and Eco'Logical Trust. 
(The Global Environmental Fund 
is also a glowing green, but it 
sells to pension funds and the 
affluent, with a minimum buy-in to 
individuals of $50,000.) 

The first environmentally orient- 
ed fund. New Alternatives, which 
invests in alternative energy like 
geothermal plants, solar energy, 
and natural gas, was launched in 
1982 by Maurice and David Scho- 
enwald, a father-and-son team of 
left-leaning lawyers In Great 
Neck. New York. It has since 
mushroomed from holdings of 
$100,000, collected mostly from 
family and friends of the same po- 



litical persuasion, to assets of 
over $24 million. 

But it's still a family affair: Mom 
edits the fund's newsletter while 
father and son perform legal ser- 
vices gratis and research new 
companies by scouring trade jour- 
nals and soliciting tips from share- 
holders, "We've got a lot of scien- 
tists and professors who are on 
the cutting edge and they've 
come up with some real winners," 
says Maurice. Their unorthodox 
approach works: New Alterna- 
tives, he says, has tripled in val- 
ue since its inception, 

"If they're not good guys, we 
don't own them," says Marshall 
Schield, head of the Schield Pro- 
gressive Environmental fund, 
which has .over S5 million in hold- 
ings. But he isn't just a moralistic 
do-gooder. Schield bets on well- 
entrenched and enlightened com- 
panies — in air pollution control, in 
hazardous waste disposal— 
which are poised to capitalize in 
this booming market. 

The Eco'Logical Trust is "the 
first Wall Street fund" — it's spon- 
sored by Merrill Lynch — "to use 
social-screening criteria," says 
Camejo, who advises Merrill 
Lynch on the environmental re- 
cord of the Trust's Investments. 
It's a unit trust, Which is different 
from a mutual fund, rather than 
buying and selling stocks, it owns 
a portfolio of 29 stocks which it 
maintains until a specified matur- 
ity date when the shareholders 
money Is liquidated. Units are 
sold through five big brokerages: 
Dean Witter, Merrill Lynch, Paine- 
Webber, Prudential-Bache, and 
Shearson Lehman Hutton, 

What's on the horizon? "High 
tech's the emerging sector," 
says Phillips, "high-tech approach- 
es to purifying water and energy 
and treating waste. The best bet, 
though, is to steer clear of the gim- 
micks — read the prospectus to 
see what's in the portfolio," DO 



ELECTRDmiC 

umivERse 



POWER TRIP: 

With computer simulations, you control the wo'rld and beyond 

By Gregg Keizer 



I've waged war on barbarian 
hordes, built the Seven Won- 
ders of the World (twice), and 
made peace with fiendish ene- 
mies. I've ridden a tower of fre in- 
to space, gone zero-g in the orca- 
blacl<-and-whJte shuttle, and glid- 
ed to ground in the California des- 
ert — all without pulling myself out 
ol my chair, 

No, no megalomania here. No 
slumming through cheap novels. 
Grownups — at least those who 
aren't actors or politicians — don't 
like to play pretend without a lot 
of help, Thai's where the home 
computer lends a hand. Both of 
these simulated adventures use 



Master of the 

Civilization 

lets you 

call ttie shots. 




a PC as prop master; the comput- 
er builds the world and then lets 
you take a walk on the wild side 
without risking life or lunch. 

Computer simulations may 
sound oh-so-sericus, but the 
best are as fun to play as any 
head-bashing videogame. Take 
Microprose's Civilization (IBM 
PCs and compatibles). This em- 
pire-construction kit casts you as 
the ruler of a people who want 
more than just a few cows and 
open pasture. You lead them to 
culture and progress, first by set- 
tling cities and exploring the new 
world and then by conquering or 
cajoling your enemies. The goal 
Isn't strictly world domination 
(though you must come awfully 
close to succeed), but a;nore po- 



litically correct voyage to the 
stars. The end game has you con- 
structing a starship and launch- 
ing colonists across space. 

Civilization is initially a dark 
place — literally — for you only see 
what you've explored. By moving 
your units around, you uncover 
the map. At the same time, you 
produce armies, navies, and. lat- 
er, air forces to defend cities; ir- 
rigate and mine the land for re- 
sources; and fend off the ubiqui- 
tous barbarian Incursions and 
competing civilizations. 

But this game — and it is more 
game than simulation — is not 
merely a 30-year-old's version of 
toy soldiers. You man- 
age production, push, 
your people down tech- 
nological paths, enter- 
tain and feed the folk, 
trade with your neigh- 
oors, and establish dip- 
lomatic relations with in- 
transigent opponents. 

No easy task, wear- 
ing all these hats. Civili- 
zation pulls you in a doz- 
en directions at once, 
and unless you manage 
efficiently, you'll end up 
in the dustbin of history. That's 
the challenge. You get to play 
with human experience on a 
grand scale (only the more cere- 
bral SimEarth simulation from Max- 
is casts a wider net), making de- 
cisions that affect millions of Imag- 
inary citizens. You won't find a 
more entertaining simulation on 
the shelves this year. 

Less satisfying, though more 
typical, is Stiuttle from Virgin 
Games (IBM PCs and compati- 
bles), fvlost simulators mimic hard- 
ware — an F-16, a nuclear subma- 
rine, an Apache helicopter. The 
idea's simple; It's unlikely you'll 
get the chance to play with one 
in real life, so the computer's 
your only shot. 

ShutllB hands you the keys to 



the most complex, most expen- 
sive piece of machinery ever 
made. Almost as intricate as the 
real thing, this simulated space- 
ship is no quick study, but then 
neither is NASA's, Resembling an 
aircraft flight simulator in places, 
Shuttle settles for less than a state- 
of-the-art look and feel. And it's 
a good thing this shuttle fleet is 
inexhaustible — in the early stag- 
es, you'll crack them up with so- 
bering regularity. 

You tackle one mission after an- 
other, some real, some imaginary, 
The first, a re-creation of the shut- 
tle's final unpowered test flight, is 
an eye-opening demonstration of 
the shuttle's pathetic flight char- 
acteristics. Other missions hinge 
on deploying or recovering satel- 
lites, launching the Hubble tele- 
scope, and assembling pieces of 
the still-fictitious Space Station. 

From roll-out and liftoff to orbit- 
al insertion and final landing, you 
run everything. With bewildering 
banks of switches, controls, and 
screens at your disposal, your big- 
gest job is just figuring out what 
to do, though you can ask the pro- 
gram to help you out. Open cab- 
in vents, load the orbital code, 
pressurize the propulsion system, 
Then, when you roar Into space 
(heard if your PC has a sound 
board) you can flail around in the 
fvlfvlU (fvianned Maneuvering Unit) 
self-propelled backpack and grap- 
ple with the RMS (Remote Manip- 
ulator System) robot arm. 

Don't strap yourself into Shut- 
tle if you're looking for a rollick- 
ing good time or a quick adren- 
aline kick. The simulation is 
more work than a way to spend 
leisure time. Pleasure comes 
from mastering ttie process. 

That's okay. Either way — wheth- 
er manning cultural ramparts or 
bringing the shuttle safely home — 
you get a crack at an extraordi- 
nary experience. It may be simu- 
lated, but it's not second-rate, DO 



EARTIH 

SHOCK STEADY: 

Smart buildings guard against bad vibrations ' 

By Cherri Senders 



Earthquake- 
resistant struc- 
tures like 
ttiese may soon 
dot the 
urban landscape. 



□ n the corner of a crowd- 
ed Tokyo street looms 
an 11-story glass and 
steei structure that looks much 
like any other. In fact, this three- 
year-old office building tiolds a dis- 
tinct advantage over its neigh- 
bors on the block: it protects 
against earthquakes. In its short 
life, the world's first "smart" build- 
ing has reduced seismic vibra- 
tions by as much as 80 percent. 
The Kyobashi Seiwa building is 
one of two smart structures— de- 
signed to control a tremor's dan- 
gerous oscillations rather than sim- 
ply resist them — that are revolu- 
tionizing earthquake engineering. 
"Until now, buildings have been 
passive — built to simply withstand ■ 
a seismic impact," says Dr. Sami 
Mash, a civil engineering profes- 




sor at the University of Southern 
California, "Engineers are now 
looking at ways to make them ac- 
tively respond to various kinds of 
earthquake motion," 

Like the Japanese prototypes 
future buildings — as well as old 
er structures that are 
retrofitted with smart 
technology — will rely 
on an extensive net- 
work of embedded 
sensors that detect 
motion and then re- 
act moment to mo- 
ment to the unpredict- 
able thrusting and roll- 
ing of an earth- 
quake. As a dancer 
continually returns to 
her center of gravity, 
the building would al- 
ways strive to maintain its 
"sense of balance." 

So far researchers have target- 
ed three techniques to control the 
shakes; massive weights that 
glide back and forth on a track to 
counterbalance the building as it 
sways; flexible cables or braces 
spanning the building's length 
that pull it back to center when it 
begins to oscillate; and jet thrust- 
ers, powered by water or com- 
pressed air, that generate a coun- 
teracting force against the build- 
ing's shudders. 

With each method, the sensor 
network would carry information 
from seismic vibrations to a cen- 
tral computer, which in turn 
would analyze the data, program- 
ming the weights, braces, or rock- 
ets to respond accordingly. 
Time elapsed from vibration to re- 
sponse: 1/100 second. "The shak- 
ing would be suppressed before 
human beings would ever feel it," 
says Dr. S. Chi Liu, program di- 
rector for the Earthquake Hazard 
[vlitigation Project at the IMational 
Science Foundation (NSF), 

Although the technology be- 
hind smart structures is not new, 




Liu says it may take another ten 
years to develop a reliable, cost- 
effective technology for general 
use. To spur interest, the NSF is 
offering £5 million in research 
grants over the next five years, 
E\en so engineers still face 
significant technical 
hurdles. Ironically, 
onb of the biggest 
thitjdts to the high- 
I ^/stemsaremun- 
r° breakdowns 
\ as cooling hos- 
j irsting. "Theccn- 
ti I ystems would sit 
I mdntfor so long — 
i-i ing to respond 
uiice every ten to 
twenty years — the like- 
lihood is that some 
part will fail when you 
need it says Dr, William Hall, 
the chairman of the civil engineer- 
ing department at the University 
of Illinois. 

Natural disasters, moreover, 
provide no room for error. "A frac- 
tion of a second can mean the dif- 
ference in saving lives or a build- 
ing collapsing," Masri says. To 
compound the situation, these 
complex, computer-driven sys- 
tems would have to work during 
emergency situations when pow- 
er outages are common. For bet- 
ter results, engineers have con- 
sidered combining active con- 
trols with passive ones — for in- 
stance, building smart structures 
on huge rubber pads that help dis- 
sipate much of an earthquake's 
initial shaking. 

Smart technologies could even 
play a role against other damag- 
ing forces, says Dr. Tsu T 
Soong of the National Center for 
Earthquake Engineering Re- 
search at SUNY Buffalo. "These 
systems don't care if the oscilla- 
tions come from earthquakes, 
high winds, or flooding," he 
says, "They adapt to how the struc- 
ture behaves." DO 




CDfUTimuunn 

GLOBAL WARMING: 

It's here for real— or is it? Plus, what plants say to each other, and 

why oil and Saturdays don't mix 



The remarkably warm summers of 1988, 1989, and 1990 Though the organizers of the New York exhibit maintain 
first brought forth mainstream announcements from the that the show is designed to dispel public fear, its urgent 
scientific community of a global-warming trend — most no- if unsaid message is that everything we do contributes to 
tabiy James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for the environmental crisis. All we have to do is proliferate 
Space Studies. Creator of a computer model which simu- for the cycle to continue, boding ill for humanity and wild- 
lates global temperature, and one of the first scientists to life. But, they suggest, each of us has the power to 
sound the alarm in 1981, Hansen now lobbies regularly change the future and prevent such disasters as the wash- 
on Capitol Hill for improved environmental policy Most ing away of Washington, DC, in the year 2050, In a com- 
reoently MASA announced that an ozone hole may actu- panion book to the exhibit, journalist Andrew Revkin lays 
ally be about to open up over New England (that's as in out the Greenhouse Diet: Reuse and recycle to limit 



Kennebunkport, noted Senator Al Gore) as 
well as the northernmost parts of Canada, 
Europe, and Russia. 

The outpouring of speculation on global 
warming is culminating this summer in two 
important events: an exhibition co-spon- 
sored by the American Museum f I latur<9l 



The Global 
Warming exhibit 

v/iil make the 
hot environmental 

issues graphi- 
cally accessible to 



waste, lower home heating and cooling, 
make energy-conscious home improve- 
ments, buy a low-flow shower head — all al- 
most too simple it would seem. So what are 
we supposed to make of all the alarming and 
contradictory signals? It's hard to say. The 
timing ofthe new NASA frd ngs — wh'ch dd 




History (AMIMH] and the Environmental De 
fense Fund opening May 15 (turn to Inter 
active Museums page 50) and the Earth 
Summit in Brazil in June, Amid ail the predic- 
tions of global catastrophe it is difficult to 
remember that no one can really predict fu- 
ture climatic change — be it incidental or cata- 
strophic — that we don't know more than we 
know, and that if this is that big, it is not just 
a national problem. Warmth does not necessarily mean 
future destruction, nor does the absence of a warming 
trend free us to destroy the environment. 

What exactly is the forecast? If you ask some physi- 
cists like Michael Oppenheimer, a senior scientist at the 
Environmental Defense Fund and co-author of Dead 
Heat: The Race Against the Greenhouse Effect, it's quite 
bleak indeed. Oppenheimer reports with assurance that 
we have entered an "era of human control of climate," 
duhng which the things we do will bring on large chang- 
n the surface of the planet — "the seas will likely 



us Sample 
screens (above] from 

the interactive 
programs Compufer 

Modeling, 

What's Your Score? 

and The 

Climate Puzzle. 



elicit immediate Capitol Hill response— with 
the upcoming Earth Summit may result in a 
moretangible Federal push, at least to elimi- 
nate the chlorofluorocarbons that destroy the 
ozone. Yet a recent press release, issued 
by the Science and Environmental Policy Pro- 
ject in Washington, DC, denounces the pro- 
posed global environmental regulations 
which will be discussed at Earth Summit as 
the work of "activists anxious to stop economic growth" 
and questions the assumption that "catastrophic global 
warming follows from the burning of fossil fuels," To the 
signers of the release — forty-odd U.S. atmospheric sci- 
entists — "catastrophic global-warming predictions are 
unsupported by the scientific evidence." 

You see the dilemma. One group says global warm- 
ing's a myth, another warns of global catastrophe, and 
our elected officials still debate the issue. I think of a line 
from A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Lord, what fools 
these mortals be!" I'm really not certain the planet's ir 



and inundate islands and low-lying coastal regions, and jeopardy — it's been around about four and a half billion 
there will be large-scale changes in entire ecosystems." years. Itwillsurviveourfolly, Will we? — AUDREY LIOUNIS 




lanjTimuunn 



There's always room 

for gel rocket 

fuel, which combines 

the best features 

of solid and liquid 

propellants. 



i±Ai 



FUEL THAT WIGGLES 

Hair goop comes in a gel, 
toothpaste comes in a gel, 
jelio comes in a gel^and 
now so does rocket fuel. 

Gencorp's Aerojet Propul- 
sion Division developed the 
new type of fuel under a $23 
million contract from the 
Army, To make the gel, the 
company adds either poly- 
mers or other compounds to 
conventional rocket propel- 
lants or oxidizers, thickening 
the fuel to a jello-like 
consistency. Once fired 
through fuel injectors, the gel 
turns back into a iitjuid and 
burns like conventional 
rocket fuel. 

A gel combines the best of 
both liquid and solid rocket 
fuels. As with liquid fuels, a 
gel-fueled rocket engine can 
be stopped, restarted, and 
throttled up and back. Like 
solid fuels, gels present less 
of a safety hazard than 
liquids if they're accidentally 
spilled. "With a liquid, if you 
puncture the [fuel] tank, [the 
fuel] flows all over the floor, 
and you have a real problem 
on your hands," says Al 
Olson, program manager at 
Aerojet. "And if both the 
oxidizer and the fuel are 
punctured, you have an 
ignition right away But if you 
gel them, the likelihood of -. 
their making contact is 
reduced dramatically" 

Although NASA once 
considered using gel propel- 
lants on the space shuttle, 
Aerojet's current work on 
gels is aimed more for use in 
the Strategic Defense Initia- 
tive. The company plans to 
build and ground-test a 
full-stage rocket using' gels 
by 1 994. -;-De vera Pine 




INTRATERRESTRIAL 
COMMUNICATION 

The desert holds many 
mysteries, but one of the 
most puzzling, if not most 
glamorous, is why common 
shrubs arrange themselves 
in different formations. Am- 
brosia dumosa (burro weed), 
for example, grows in tightly 
packed clumps, while Larrea 
tridenlata (creosote bush) 
spreads itself out. 

Recent experiments by 
Bruce Mahall, a botanist at 
the University of California at 
Santa Barbara, and his 
colleague Rag an Callaway 
suggest an answer: The 
plant roots communicate with 
each other, Larrea plants, for 
instance, release toxins into 
the soil, conveying chemical 
information — like "keep 
away" — to the roots of their 
neighbors. 

Ambrosia roots react 
differently to the presence of 
other plants. When two roots 
of the same ambrosia plant 
touch, they continue growing 
right next to each other. 
However, when roots from 
two different ambrosia plants 
touch (or an ambrosia root 



touches a larrea plant's root), 
the ambrosia root that made 
contact stops growing. Other 
roots'from that same 
ambrosia plant then branch 
out in different directions until 
they touch something else. 
Mahall and Callaway con- 
clude that ambrosia roots 
exhibit "detection and avoid- 
ance" behavior as well as 
"self-nonself recognition." 
Further studies may ex- 

LUNAR MATERIAL 
BROUGHT TO EARTH BY 
ASTRONAUTS ARM- 
STRONG, ALDRIN, AND 
COLLINS IS CALLED 
BLACK ARMALCOLITE 
IN THEIR HONOR. 



plain the structure of plant 
communities, giving us 
"another tool to determine 
the proper spacing of crops 
in agricultural systems," 
Mahall says. — Steve Isladis 

"What we anticipale seldom 
occurs; wfiat we least 
expect generally happens. " 
— Benjamin Disraeli 



AGED PORT 

It took a University of 
Colorado at Boulder history 
professor almost twice as 
long to solve the puzzle of 
how Roman engineers 
designed the ancient, 
sunken fiarbor of Caesaria 
Maritima than it took the 
workers of Herod the Great, 
ttie king of Judea, to build it 
in the first place. 

A marine archaeology 
team headed by Robert 
Hohlfelder discovered in 
tfie summer of 1 990 that the 
builders of tfie harbor, near 
tfie modern-day city of 
Haifa, Israel, constructed 
the pilings used to support 
tfie city's breakwaters in a 
unique checkerboard pat- 
tern. The Roman engineers 
filled some of the pilings 
with a cement made of 
volcanic ash and left others 
empty, to be filled with sand 
churned up by the harsh 
coastal storms of the 
eastern Mediterranean. 

The mam breakwater 
stretches out into the sea 
for about 800 yards; the 
others, for 325 yards. By 
alternating filled molds with 






empty ones, the cost- 
conscious Romans saved 
years of work, estimates 
Hohlfelder, who began 
studying Caesaria in 1978. 

According to the first- 
century scholar and soldier 
Josephus, the harbor of 
Caesaria was built between 
22 B.c and 15 B.C. It 
flourished only until Herod's 
death in 4 B.C., but for a 
time it was a major port on 
a magnificent scale, its 
gates guarded by six 
colossal bronze statues — ■ 
never recovered^ presuma- 
bly of the Roman Emperor 
Augustus or his family, with 
whom the wily Herod 
sought to trade. Due either 
to earthquakes or bad 
maintenance— Hohlfelder 
suspects the latter — the 
sea swallowed up the 
harbor before the eighth 
century, long after its brisk 
trade with Rome, Con- 
stantinople, Britain, and 
even China had ebbed,. 

"Every season we seem 
to find another piece of the 
jigsaw puzzle," Hohlfelder 
says. The site has long 
fascinated marine archaeol- 
ogists baffled by the ability 
of a preindustfial society to 
master such complex 
engineering techniques. 

Hohlfelder, history profes- 
sor Kenneth Holum of the 
University of Maryland, and 
Avner Raban, a maritime 
civilization specialist from 
the University of Haifa, plan 
to concentrate this summer 
on the layers of sediment 
that conceal the sunken 
port, sifting through arti- 
facts in an effort to pinpoint 
when Caesaria tell from 
glory — George Nobbe 




/a k' 



IT'S SATURDAY— DO 
YOU KNOW WHERE 
YOUR OIL TANKER 
IS? 

Deep into a study relating 
oil spills to stock market 
activity, economist Eban 
Goodstein stumbled upon a 
startling fact: Major oil spills 
that are likely to be linked to 
human error occur more 
often on Saturday than on 
any other day of the week. 
The weekend phenomenon 
is responsible for the loss of 
an average of 163,000 
gallons of oil in U,S. waters 
every year, according to the 
Skidmcre College assistant 
professor, who quickly shift- 
ed the focus of his study. 
"Eliminating the 'Saturday 
effect' would be like having 
one less major tanker spill 
each year," he says. 

Goodsiein's data, gleaned 
from the New York Times, 
among other sources, focus- 
es on spills caused by 
vessel-guidance errors— 
specifically groundings, ram- 
mings, and collisions. More 
of these accidents Involve 
human mistakes than do 
spills resulting from explo- 



sions, btorms, or leaks, But 
Goodstein stops short of 
assigning blame for the 
preponderance of Saturday 
accidents. Increased traffic 
in harbors, reduced staffing, 
or "weekend psychology" 
may all play a role, he says. 

Whatever the cause, 
Goodstein believes he has 
an effective solution. "Insur- 
ance companies need to 
penalize their clients if they 



BESIDES INVENTING DY- 
NAMITE, ALFRED 
NOBEL ALSO CREATED 
PLYWOOD AND 
WAS ONE OF THE FIRST 
DESIGNERS OF PRE- 
FABRICATED HOUSING. 



spill on Saturday in the same 
way that automobile insur- 
ance companies will penalize 
you if you have repeated 
accidents," he suggests. 
"There's roughly a third more 
spills on Saturdays, so make 
transport firms pay thirty 
percent more of whatever 
damage occurs on Satur- 
day" — Beth Howard 




comTimuunn 



THE SAHARA ON THE 
MOVE 

You'd expect a desert, 
especiaify one as large as 
the Sahara, to stay in one 
place, Well, not exactly. For 
years, the Sahara has been 
thought to move steadily 
southward, But, 12 years ot 
digital evidence from polar- 
orbiting meteorological satel- 
lites indicates that the 
southern edge of the great 
African desert actually 
moves back and forth, north 
and south, along a boundary 
that extends from the Atlantif^ 




this way, then that way— from 11 to 110 kilometers 



Ocean in Wfest Africa to the 
Red Sea in the east, 

Overgrazing and fuel- 
wood gathering, believed 
since 1915 to have been the 
culprits in the 'Sahara's 



movement, bear little respon- 
sibility. Climatic variations 
expressed as rainfall are 

the real culprits, according 
to Compton J. Tucker and 
Wilbur W Newcomb of 



the Biospheric Sciences 
Branch of NASA's Goddard 
Space Flight Center in 
Greenbelt, Maryland, and 
Harold Dregne ofTexasTech 
University in Lubbock. 



Measuring precipitation in 
an area the size of the 
Sahara, which was 8.6 million 
square kilometers in 1980 
and about 9.3 million in 1990, 
is not easy Instead, Tucker 
and his colleagues used 
what they call a vegetation 
index. This approach gave 
them constant measure- 
ments and accurate read- 
ings of retreating or advanc- 
ing plant life in the Sahara. 
They found that from 1980 to 
1964, the desert advanced 
from 11 to 99 kilometers 
yearly, retreating 110 kilome- 
ters in 1985 and 35 kilo- 



meters the next year. This 
ebb-and-flow pattern puts 
the desert's mean position 
today 130 kilometers south of 
where it was in 1980. 

"Our study indicates that 
no one can say whether 
the Sahara is or is not 
expanding," Tucker says. 
"Only a longtime monitoring 
project lasting at least twenty 
to thirty years could 
determine that." 

In a related study, 
scientists from the Universi- 
ties of Virginia and New 
Hampshire discovered that 
the Sahara has a potential 



effect on the Black Water 
River region of the Amazon 
basin. Data from high-flying 
aircraft and ground-based 
instruments show that about 
13 million tons of nutrient-rich 
dust from Africa are pulled in 
annually by fast-moving 
storm systems in the 
Amazon, according to 
Robert Talbot, an atmospher- 
ic chemist at New Hamp- 
shire. The nutrients — 
compounds such as phos- 
phates and nitrates, vital to 
the Amazon soil — find their 
way to the ground in 
rainfall. — George Nobbe 



THE LONGEST SURVIVAL 
TIME WITHOUT ANY 
SOLID FOOD; 382 DAYS. 

IN THE WEIGHTLESS 
CONDITIONS OF 
SPACE, AN ASTRONAUT'S 
HEART SHRINKS. 

MORE THAN THREE 
MILLION ARTIFICIAL BODY 

PARTS HAVE BEEN IN- 
STALLED IN AMERICANS. 
■HHiiiMiaiilMliliiyiiiaHaaH 





camTimuufui 



SAVE THE RAIN 
FOREST AT YOUR 
LOCAL THEATER 

Want to help the environ- 
ment? Go see a movie. 

Specifically, go see fern- 
Gully . . . The Last Rainforest. 
released in April by Twentieth 
Centuri^Fox, The producers 
and actors of the animated 
musical feature, set in the 
Australian rain forest, are 
donating a portion of the 
profits, including revenue 
from overseas and video 
releases, to environmental 
causes. The Sierra Club, 
Greenpeace, and the Rain- 
forest Foundation will split 4 
percent of the movie's gross 
profits, and 5 percent of the 
net profits will go into a 
special fund to be adminis- 
tered by Tom Lovejoy, 
assistant secretary for exter- 
nal affairs at the Smithsonian 
Institution and one of the 
country s premier experts on 
ram forests Lovejoy and 
FernGullys producers want 



to distribute the money 
primarily to grassroots organ- 
izations involved in preserv- 
ing the world's rain forests 
and the thousands of 
species that live within them, 

"This planet is not 
invulnerable," says Peter 
Faiman, one of the film's 
producers. "It's not being 
political to acknowledge this; 
it's common sense and our 
responsibility," 

Based on the soon-to-be- 
published children's stories 
of Australian author Diana 
Young, FernGully ioWows 
teenage fairy Crysta as she 
meets a human boy and 
leads the struggle against 
the evil spirit of pollution and 
destruction threatening the 
rain forest. Samantha Mathis, 
who appeared in Pump Up 
the Volume, provides Crys- 
ta's voice, while her Volume 
co-star Christian Slater plays 
Crysta's elfin friend Pips. 
Robin Williams lends his 
comic talents to Batty Koda, 
an addled escapee from a 




biology lab. Elton John and 
Jimmy Buffett, among other 
artists, have contributed 
songs to the soundtrack. 

Director Bill Kroyer, whose 
animated short Technologi- 
cal Threat recewed an Oscar 
nomination in 1989, trained at 
Disney's fabled animation 
studios, as did animation 
director Tony Fucile, a 
veteran of The Little 
Mermaid. — Erin Murphy 

THE UNEXPECTED 
TALENTS OF MAN'S 
BEST FRIEND 

Eight-year-old Erin Leth 
fromOuincy, Massachusetts, 

suffers from pattern-induced 
seizure disorder. Despite 
receiving the best medical 
care available, Erin still has 
about 20 seizures a day 
triggered by simply looking 
at patterns on a W or 
computer screen, clothing, a 
printed page, or elsewhere. 
Her best hope may now lie 
with Shado.w, a two-year-old 
golden retriever that joined 
the Leth family in December 
The dog is being trained to 
cushion Erin should she 
collapse during a seizure, roll 
her onto her back, and seek 
help from others. Shadow's 
trainers at Michigan-based 
Paws With a Cause hope that 
the dog will eventually 
prevent some seizures by 
distracting Erin before she 
drifts into a trance. 

Other organizations have 
also found dogs useful lor 
seizure-prone people. Some 
of the dogs trained at the 
Prison Pet Partnership, a 
vocational program at the 
Washington Correction Cen- 
ter for V\timen in Gig Harbor, 
can even predict seizures 5 



to 45 minutes before they 
occur, an ability that 
apparently cannot be taught. 
Dogs possessing this talent 
provide an invaluable service 
by warning their owners. One 
of the dogs trained at the 
center, for example, alerted 
its young owner of an 
impending seizure while the 
child was performing on a 
balance beam, preventing 
what would likely have been 
a serious accident. 

A study underway at the 
New York City-based Epilep- 



sy Institute aims to figure out 
the dogs' mystifying talent "if 
we can find out what these 
'seizure dogs' do instinctual- 
ly it's possible that other 
dogs could be trained to tune 
in to the same cues," 
explains the institute's execu- 
tive director, Reina Berner, 
— Steve Nadis 

"One thing I have learned 
in a long life: that all 
our science, measured 
against reality, is 
primitive and childlil^e — 
and yet it Is the most 
precious thing we have. " 

— Albert Einstein 




caruTimuunn 




OPEN YOUR GILLS 
AND SAY AHH 

Fish need their medicine, 
juat lil^e people do. But 
delivering it can be a little 
tricl<y: Lifting fish out of the 
water and vaccinating them 
is tedious and expensive — 
not to mention hard on the 
fish. The alternative, allowing 
fish to absorb medication put 
into the water around them, 
offers little improvement; 
often, they simply can't 
absorb the necessary dose. 

Researchiers at the Univer- 
sity of Maryland and the 
Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology think they've 
found a way around this 
problem. They added a 
sample reproductive 
hormone to a tank full of 
goldfish and then applied an 
ultrasound probe to the 
water's surface for 10 to 15 
minutes. The goldfish ex- 
posed to ultrasound ab- 
sorbed 10 to 20 times as 
much of the hormone as a 
control group not exposed to 
ultrasound, according to lead 
researcher Yonathan Zohar. 



Zohar, an associate pro- 
fessor at the University of 
Maryland Center of Marine 
Biotechnology and Agricui- 
lural Experiment Station, 
theorizes that the ultrasound 
changes the permeability 
of the skin and gills of the 
fish, allowing them to more 
easily absorb substances 
from the water. 

"The big potential for this 
technique," Zohar says, "is to 
enhance the administration 
and uptal^e of vaccines and 
antibiotics to fish and other 
aquatic animals." 

The technique "could 
have tremendous benefits," 
says Per Heggelund, presi- 



A HEADLESS COCK- 
ROACH WILL LIVE FOR 
SEVERAL WEEKS 
BEFORE FINALLY DYING 
OF STARVATION. 

ONE SQUARE INCH OF 
HUMAN SKIN CON- 
TAINS 19 MILLION CELLS. 



dent of AquaSeed Corpora- 
tion in Seattle, Washington, 
which raises and sells fish 
embryos. "If he's able to 
increase the uptake by that 
amount, I think it's phenome- 
nal." — Bob Scheier 

WATER IN THE AIR 

Frank Herbert would be 
proud: In preparation for the 
Dune-like environment that 
global warming may bring, a 
Michigan inventor has devel- 
oped a water cooler that 
needs no water. 

The Aqua-Cycle Creater 
Series 2001 looks much like 
your standard gather-around- 
at-the-office drinking foun- 
tain. But instead of being 
attached to pipes in the wall, 
it contains an advanced 
dehumidifier, a chilled cooler 
that operates below the dew 
point to wring moisture from 
the air. A triple-purification 
process — carbon filter, deion- 
izer, and ultraviolet light — 
cleanses the dewdrops so 
they're as pure as triple- 
distilled water. Under op- 
timum conditions of SOT and 
60-percent humidity, says 
inventor Bill Malson, it can 
produce three to five gallons 
of water a day at a cost of 
100 to 200 a gallon— 
significantly cheaper than 
bottled water. And since the 
140-pound unit is on wheels. 
It can easily be rolled to any 
110-volt outlet. 

Priced at about $2,500. 
the cooler is now selling in 
the warm, moist regions of 
the United States, including 
Florida and the California 
coast, Malson has also 
begun marketing it in Asia 
and in the Middle East — he 
sent one to Kuwait before 



IN 1 859, THOMAS 
AUSTIN RELEASED 24 RAB- 
BITS IN AUSTRALIA; 
WITHIN SIX YEARS, THE 
POPULATION 
GREW TO TWO MILLION. 

ROBOTS IN JAPAN PAY 
UNION DUES. 



the Iraqi Invasion. "It's the 
right peacetime technology 
to send there," he says. 
"They're paying $2.50 a 
gallon for good water, with 
no backup," 

While the cooler pulls 
water from thin air, the 
dehumidifier fights mold and 
mildew, the ultraviolet light 
kills airborne bacteria, and 
the palm-sized air compres- 
sor helps cool the air. Malson 
is now designing one to fit 
under kitchen counters. 

— Jim Stiak 

"There are people who take 
the heart out of you, and 
there are people who put it 
back. "-Elizabeth David 




In this feature, adapted from her bestselling 

book, OMNI's co-founder examines ways we can use our heads 

to keep our bodies more youthful 

MENTAL MUSCLE 



Some people just don't seem to 
know how old they are. My grand- 
mother never revealed her age to any- 
one^probably not even to herself. 
The grandfather of a friend contin- 
ued to write stinging letters to the lo- 
cal newspaper until he died at ninet^^ 
four An eighty-year-old writer 
friend takes time off between books 
to go mountain climbing. 
^ What do these people have in com- 
mon'^ A single phrase sums it up. 
^ They continue to grow. Like the Ro- 
man statesman Cato, who learned 
Greek at the age of eighty; or 
^ Goethe, who was past eighty when 
'' he wrote Faust; or even George 
Burns, who plans to tap dance on 
stage on his hundredth birthday- 
some people never lose their joie de 
vivre their ongoing willingness lo 
learn new things, tackle new tasks, 
and perhaps most important, to 
hold onto the conviction that they're 
only as old as they feel, 

Mid life is not a period of crisis 
but of development," says psychol- 
ogist Gilbert Bhm, director of a mas- 
sive MacAfthur Foundation-spon- 
■^ sored cross-disciplinary research pro- 
- gram that's investigating every con- 
\ cetvable aspect of middle age — 
1 from attitudes and aspirations to 
1 brain function and hormone levels. 
Study after study of the middle- 
■'' aged has been done," says Brim, 
without discovering that any signif- 
■ leant part of the population has a 
mid life crisis." 

Far from it: When the American 

! Board of Family Practice polled 

1 200 adults, as many as 89 percent 

of them said that middle age is a 



BY KATHY KEETON 

time of warmth, of increasing close- 
ness lo their mates, their children, 
and their friends. 

Perhaps to a larger degree than 
we realize, getting old is all in the 
mind — or, to be more accurate, in 
that most vital of all organs, the 
brain. The brain changes with age, 
although the details of those chang- 
es remain a matter of some contro- 
versy. Scientists used to accept, for 
example, that aging brains lose 
cells — anywhere from 10,000 to 
50,000 a day This would imply an 
overall brain-size reduction of 
about 10 percent between youth 
and old age. The part of the brain 
that seems to be hardest hit is the 
substantia nigra, which controls 
seme aspects of movement and 
may thus be implicated in the devel- 
opment of Parkinson's disease. The 
substantia nigra's cell count is 
thought to drop from about 600,000 
in youth to around 100,000 by the 
time we reach eighty. 

Conventional wisdom held that 
this irreversible decline in the 
brain's cell population made us 
more forgetful and less mentally 
acute as we aged. Today, though, 
fewer and fewer scientists are will- 
ing to accept such a pessimistic pic- 
lure, Robert Terry, professor of neu- 
rosciences and palhology at the 
University of California at San Diego, 
uses a special imaging technique to 
look at the aging brain in a new 
light, He's discovered that many neu- 
rons don't actually die. Instead, 
they simply shrink, but in doing so 
they lose some of their connections, 
causing them to perform less well. 



In the Sixties and Seventies, re- 
searchers at Cambridge University 
in England and Rochester Universi- 
ty in the United States found that 
some aging or damaged brain cells 
actually send oul new "branches"— 
spidery projections called dendrites. 
-These continue to grow longer and 
sprout new branches even as we 
pass our ninetieth birthdays. Some 
experts have even speculated that 
dendritic branches are the physical 
embodiments of what has been 
called "the wisdom of the ages." 

Recently, scientists discovered 
clues that dendritic branching is stim- 
ulated by brain chemicals known as 
nerve-growth factors There may be 
dozens or even hundreds of these 
chemicals, and they are generating 
tremendous excitement in labora- 
tories around the world, 

At Sweden's University of Lund, An- 
ders Bjorklund immerses elderly 
rats in a Morris maze — a tank filled 
with murky water that hides a sub- 
merged platform. Once the rat finds 
the platform and scrambles onto it, 
the rat is raised out of the water and 
to safety; then the process is repeat- 
ed, The trick for the rat during sub- 
sequent dunking is to remember the 
location of the platform. 

Rats that received injections of a 
nerve-grovilh factor after their first im- 
mersion remembered where the plat- 
form was and swam right for it, 
while rats that got no nerve-growth 
factor floundered around, finding the 
platform only by accident. 

Some scientists think that in the 
years ahead, nerve-growth factors 
may serve as the basis for treatment 



ILLUSTRATION BY ETIENNE DELESSERT 



ATTITUDES TOWARD AeiNG 

MAY PLAY A LARGE ROLE IN HOW WE FUNCTION 

AS WE OROW OLDER 



of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. 

In the meantime, many researchers 
are beginning to conclude that the de- 
terioration of aging brains has been 
grealiy exaggeraied. "Seniiity or im- 
paired cognitive function doesn't 
seem to appear independent of physi- 
cal healili problems," says Marion 
Perlmutter, a psychologist and geron- 
toiogist at the University of Michigan. 

"Older people may not be as quick 
in timed tests," says Robert Terry "but 
they don't lose judgment, orientation, or 
vocabulary. There is no way thai peo- 
ple like Picasso, the cellist Pablo 
Casals, or Martha Graham could have 
continued to function on half a brain." 

Brain researcher Marian Diamond, a 
professor of integrative biology at the 
University of California at Berkeley, put 
groups of aging lab rats into what 
amounted to a rat Disneyland: an envi- 
ronment full of toys, swings, ladders, 
treadmills, and wheels that kept them 
active and stimulated. It turned out 
that the rats who lived in Disneyland 
had bigger and better functioning 
brains than their impoverished cousins, 
up to the ripe old age of three, or the 
human equivalent of ninety! 

In many ways, then, putting the 
brakes on mental aging may depend 
on a positive and aroused response to 
the challenges presented by the world 
around us The same is true, apparent- 
ly of our attitudes toward ourselves and 
others. It is said, for example, that peo- 
ple who are shy and timid may actually 
be compromising their longevity. Re- 
search by the psychologist Jerome 
Kagan of Harvard University has 
shown that children as young as two 
years eld who were very quiet and cau- 
tious In the presence of strangers had 
accelerated heart rates, more muscle 
tension, and higher levels of the stress 
hormone Cortisol in their saliva. If that 
shyness persists into adulthood, 
Kagan thinks, it would make those peo- 
ple more prone to panic attacks. 

If shyness can increase your risk of 
developing health problems, pessimism 
can evidently be worse. For more than 
forty years a team of psychologists led 
by Dartmouth Medical School's 
George E. Vaillant has been tracking 
the connection between mental atti- 
tudes and physical health in a group of 
Harvard graduates, Theirfindings? The 
men who had the bleakest outlook on 
life at the age of twenty-five suffered 

42 OMNI 




from the most serious illnesses when 
they were in their sixties, "i/aiilant's col- 
leagues Christopher Fteterson of the Uni- 
versity of Michigan and Martin E. P. Selig- 
man of the University of Pennsylvania 
found a similar pattern when they stud- 
ted major-league baseball stars. Play- 
ers witii a dark view of themselves and 
the world — those who tended to blame 
losses or slumps on internal factors ("I 
just don't seem to give a damn.") and 
see bad times as predominant in the nat- 
ural order ('That's the way the world 
is.") — lived shorter lives than more op- 
timistic players. 

Seligman thinks that a" pessimistic 
and passive outlook has a direct and 
deep effect on the immune system and 
its ability to fight off diseases. "In ani- 
mals," he says, "if you manipulate help- 
lessness, you can produce natural kil- 
ler cells that don't kill, T-cells that don't 
proliferate, and animals that grow tu- 
mors at a faster rate and reject them at 
a lower rate." He thinks the same may 
be true of humans: A bleak outlook 
means a weakened immune system. 

Repressed anger, depression, pes- 
simism, egocentricity, shyness — all neg- 
ative attitudes, all potential life shorten- 
ers. Add them up and they spell 
stress, which may be the most danger- 
ous of all mind killers. In contemporary 
society, a typical day is loaded with 
stress; this may be the most stressful 
epoch in history So as stress increases, 
it becomes hazardous to your health. 
Stress helps produce high blood pres- 



sure (hypertension), which currently af- 
flicts sixty million Americans. It's been 
implicated as a factor in the develop- 
ment of atherosclerosis, heart disease, 
and some kinds of cancer. 

How to eliminate stress? There's no 
way to do it entirely Even if we could 
do it, it might be unhealihful. Studies 
have shown that a certain amount of 
stress is actually good for us in that it 
keeps our minds and bodies alert and 
awake. The important thing Is to learn 
how 10 deal with stress. There's a clue 
to this in some recent research carried 
out by James A, McCubbin, a psy- 
chophysiologist at the University of Ken- 
tucky College of Medicine, McCubbin 
found that young men who were in the 
early stages of hypertensive disease 
showed diminished levels of opioids — 
calming chemicals that our brains pro- 
duce in response to stress. The key 
word here is calm. McCubbin 's work sug- 
gests that there's a natural mechanism 
in the brain that helps us stay cool 
when we're challenged by stressful 
events. It's when that mechanism 
breaks down that stress becomes truly 



The question is, how do we gain con- 
trol of our innate anti-stress mecha- 
nisms? How do we train our brains to 
stay cool under fire? There are enough 
suggestions around to generate librar- 
ies full of self-help books. Scores of 
ashrams and health spas are dedicat- 
ed to one anti-stress approach or an- 
other. My preference (learned from work- 
ing on Longevity an6 Omn/ magazines, 
which put me in touch with the very lat- 
est scientific findings) is a sort of 
mixed strategy involving a combination 
of diet, diet supplements, and exercise 
classes. Every year or so I make a 
point of learning how to do something 
new and enjoyable, whether it's video 
games, scuba diving, needlepoint, or 
tennis, I eat healthy portions of complex 
carbohydrates, especially pasta, be- 
cause these are thought to have a calm- 
ing effect and may actually help the 
brain produce opioids. 

It takes a healthy sense of the absurd 
to find life consistently funny and this 
same appreciation for the offbeat and 
the off-center can in itself help one live 
longer. That's the conclusion of David 
Weeks, a psychologist at the Royal Ed- 
inburgh Hospital in Scotland, Weeks 
studied two hundred people whom he 
classifies as eccentric or unconvention- 



al. Beneath their oddities, Weeks says, 
"these people have a very strong 
sense of self and purpose in life. 
They're curious, they have a robust 
sense of humor, and they love ideas." 
Their eccentricities, Weel^s concludes, 
are signposts of an unflagging zest for 
life and an unending appreciation of its 
rewards. "To an eccentric," Weeks 
says, "anything is possible" — perhaps 
even living to be a hundred or more. 

The kind of zest Ihal characterizes 
the true eccentric can be put to work 
for all of us. The key — and it can't be 
repeated enough — is to stay busy and 
involved, If you're like me, you may 
have found that the busier you are, the 
happier you are — and the more you 
take on, the more you get done. It 
seems to me that during the periods 
when I'm at my most active, I never gel 
sick — it just doesn't occur to me, and 
even if it did, I couldn't afford the time. 

Tap the poienliai life-extending pow- 
er thai comes from taking charge of 
your own life. If you feel that you've 
lost that sense of control and purpose, 
do whatever you have to do to regain 
it. Being in charge, says the Yale Uni- 
versity psychologist Judith Rodin, is "of 
central importance in influencing psi^ 
chological and physical health, and per- 
haps even longevity. . , ," In the mid Sev- 



enties, Rodin and her colleagues test- 
ed this notion on the elderly residents 
of a nursing home in New Haven, Con- 
necticut. The residents, aged sixty-five 
to ninety, were divided into two 
groups. The first group was told that the 
staff wanted to make the home a hap- 
py place in which to live. They were 
told, "We want to know anything that 
you want, and we'll do it for you." The 
second group was told to take charge 
of things. They were lold, tor example, 
"We're having a movie next week, but 
you tell us when you want to see it." 

Eighteen months later, the psychol- 
ogists checked in on the two groups. 
Sure enough, the people in the lake- 
charge group were much more alert, 
more active, and significantly happier 
than their passive peers. Their feisty at- 
titude had tangible rewards in terms of 
physical health: They had lower levels 
of the stress hormone Cortisol and a 
greatly reduced need for medication in 
general. The ultimate payoff, in addition 
to better health and greater happiness, 
was longer life: At the end of a year and 
a half, twice as many of the take-charg- 
ers were still alive and kicking. 

So, identify the things in life that are 
important to you — it may be a career, 
creativity, finances, politics, or the feel- 
ing of satisfaction Ihat comes from serv- 







ing your community — and put yourself 
in command. Assert yourself, express 
yourself,- and take control. You'll be 
more satisfied with yourself and your 
life, and you might live longer, too. 

Over the past ten years, there's 
been an explosion of evicJence linking 
the power of the mind to the health of 
the body, and experts in the new field 
of psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI, are 
gaining a greater understanding of how 
the brain and the body can cooperate 
to fight off illness. It's been discovered, 
for one thing, thai there are nerve fibers 
in the thymus, the immune system's mas- 
ter gland, as well as in the spleen, the 
lymph nodes, and the bone marrow — 
all vital parts of the immune system. 
Some immune system cells have recep- 
tors for neuropeptides, chemicals that 
are produced within the brain itself. In 
other words, there's a growing body of 
evidence to suggest that the brain 
talks directly to the immune system via 
this electrochemical version of AT&T. 

Sometimes this electrochemical link 
between brain- and body can be mobi- 
lized to produce astonishing, seeming- 
ly miraculous results, A middle-aged 
woman is diagnosed with terminal 
lung cancer and given only a few 
months to live. "I can't die," she says, 
"I have four children to raise." Ten 
years later, her cancer in remission, she 
watches her youngest child graduate 
from college. A man with a terrible se- 
cret — he knows that his father has com- 
mitted murder— suddenly develops 
throat cancer. The night before surgery 
to remove the tumor, he breaks down 
and tearfully reveals his father's crime. 
Within four hours he's able to eat for the 
first time in a week, and the surgery is 
canceled. Four days later, the tumor 
has entirely disappeared. 

How can we learn to turn on those 
self-repair mechanisms? 

One method that has already had a 
long history of remarkable success is 
"guided imagery." In this technique, 
first developed in the Sixties by psychi- 
atrists 0. Oarl Simonton and Stephanie 
Simonton, patients are encouraged to 
develop a sharply focused mental pic- 
ture of the "enemy" — a cluster of can- 
cer cells, for example. They're then 
trained to imagine their own defenses — 
the immune system's T-lymphocytes, or 
natural killer cells — attacking the invad- 
ing disease cells and fighting them off. 
Sometimes the imagery can be realis- 
tic — one woman fought off lung cancer 
after her daughter, a nurse, put an x- 
ray of a healthy lung beside her bed. 
At other times, they may be slightly sur- 
real: One eight-year-old girl mobilized 
her immune system against cancer by 
imagining that the cancer cells were 



On the bright screen in 
front of me, an animat- 
ed counter is l<eeping a run- 
ning tally of my annuai pro- 
duction of carbon dioxide — 
primary greenhouse 
5, It indicates the number 
of pounds per year of the 
stuff I am responsible for 
creating. As i input the num- 
ber of miles I drive per 
week, the number of bags 
'of garbage I generate, my 
monthly gas and electric 
bills, whether or not I have 
a refrigerator or air condition- 
r, and other such informa- 
tion about my energy-rich life- 
style, the counter goes up 
and up. Finally I put In [he 
number of miles I fly annual- 
ly To my horror the counter 



jumps from 13,000 pounds 
per year to an appalling 
58,000! And just to drive 
home the point, the pro- 
gram's designer, Jeff 
Jones, caps it off by telling 
ma the national average per 
person is between 30,000 
and 40,000 pounds per 
year. I feel crushed. 

What I've just been pia^^ 
ing with is one of a batch of 
interactive multimedia pro- 
grams Jones is designing 
for Global Warming: Under- 
standing the Forecast, a 
new exhibit opening in May 
at the American Museum of 
Natural History (AMNH) i 
New York City. Developed 
in collaboration with the En- 
vironmental Defense Fund 

INTERACTIVE 
MUSEUMS 

BY MARGARET 
WERTHEIM 



UFfmiip Will 

SHOW 

EVOlUTIONAIIf 

REIATJOHSHIK 

FOR EVEBV 

KIND OF ORGANISM 

FROM 

SIHG1E.CE11ED 

SACTERIA TO 

PAIEOCAMEIS 



Ji 



(EDF), Global Warming 
marks the start of a new en 
for this prestigious museurr 
and points the way to the fu- 
ture of exhibition design. 

In a radical departure 
■from the musuem's usual for- 
mat, there will be very few 
artifacts, and the exhibit 
will feature four separate in- 
teractive multimedia pro- 
grams. Each Is a highly in- 
novative and sophisticated 
way of introducing visitors to 
the most pressing environ- 
mental problem facing our 
planet today— global warm- 
ing. All four interactive pro- 
grams are being directed 
by Jones, an elfish 27-year- 
old who's already one of the 
most experienced multime- 



dia programmers in the coun- 
try. His team includes EDF 
scientists, and graphic art- 
ists Paul Zelevansky, Gia 
Teslani, and Gerhard Schlan- 
zky. As museum visitors will 
quickly realize, slick visual 
presentation of information 
is a hallmark of this new and 
exciting medium. 

Interactive multimedia is 
the quintessential buzz- 
phrase of the early Nineties. 
Under its umbrella fall many 
things, as the "multi" part of 
the name implies. It sounds 
a mouthful, but essentially 
it's a simple and elegant con- 
cept. The basic principle is 
that with a computer acting 
as controller, many different 
kinds of media can be inte- 



ited together and ac- 
cessed by the user in a way 
that suits his or her particu- 
.r needs and desires. The 
lea Is that if users can con- 
trol their own experiences. 
they are iar more likely to re- 
main interested and want to 
continue exploring — hence 
the "interactive" part of the 
name. Even if we both sit 
down In front of the same 
system, you get to explore 
it your way and I get to ex- 
plore it my way The "multi- 
media" part comes from the 
integration of different me- 
dia — for example a system 
may Include a videodisc con- 
taining video segments and 
a hard disk drive or CD- 
ROM containing computer 



But as desktop comput- 
ers become powerful 
enough to handle video im- 
ages, computer animations, 
and digital sound reproduc- 
tions, it is also now possible 
to implement Interactive mul- 
timedia programs on comput- 
ers alone. That's something 
communications experts 
have been waxing lyrical 
about for years, but until 
now, the technology availa- 
ble wasn't adequate to re- 
alize the promise of the 
idea. Now, at last, it is. The 
new exhibition coming up at 
the AMNH proves that multi- 
media has come of age. 

What's Your ScoreTf. just 

TEAM PLAYERS 
(LEFT TO RIGHT): 
JEFF JONES, 
GERHARD SCHLANZKY, 
GiA TESTAHI, 
PAUL ZElfVANSKY 



one of the programs in the 
70,000-square-foot Global 
Warming exhibit, allows you 
to calculate how much you 
personally contribute to the 
growing amount of carbon 
dioxide in our atmosphere. 
This is where I learned that 
I am responsible for an ap- 
palling 58,000 pounds per 
yearl It was a crushing indict- 
ment' of my lifestyle, which 
I'd always thought of as rath- 
er frugal, but then Jones 
told me the system is de- 
signed to look at people's pri- 
vate lives only Being a writ- 
er, I work at home; thus my 
tally included both my pri- 
vate and professional car- 
bon-dioxide production. I 
did, however, learn the true 



cost to the environment of 
air travel — apparently the 
most inefficient and environ- 
mentally destructive form of 
transport by far, I vowed to 
try and cut down. 

According to Jones, who 
looked privately amused as 
I chastised myself, the aim 
of the program is to make 
people aware of the person- 
al aspects of the green- 
house effect — to make us re- 
alize that it is not just an ab- 
stract problem "out there" 
but something we all play a 
part in. And that is one of 
the great potentials of inter- 
active technology— rather 
than just passively receiving 
intormation, we can get a 
lively involved in the pro- 




cess of acquiring and even 
generating information that 
is personally relevant. 

In the Global Warming i 
hibit, each of the four inter- 
actives deals with different 
aspects of the problem. Be- 
tvi^een them they allovLi the 
visitor to explore and invt 
tigate a whole range of 

!S, from the level of the 
planetary climate system 
down to the level of the for- 
ests, ecosystems, and cit- 
ies, ending at the molecular 
level where you can explore 
how the carbon cycle 
works and how different gas- 
es affect the atmospher 
and global temperatures. 

It's a tremendous amount 
of information to incorporate 
in a single exhibition, and i 
such, It will be a superb n 
tional resource for helping 
us all to learn about this com- 
plex problem. But its very 
complexity demands that 
there be a simple approach 
to attacking it. "I always 
start from people's own ex- 
perience," Jones says, 
"from things they know 
about and can relate to, 
Ihen expand their knowl- 
edge out from there." All the 
programs begin with instant- 
ly recognizable images or sit- 
uations and contain various 
layers of information so that 
the user can get a broad per- 
spective or more detailed ac- 
counts of particular aspects 
of a problem. Choices are 
made by using a trackball 
to point the cursor at differ- 
ent icons (little images) and 
option buttons on the 
screen. When you make a 
new selection, you're pre- 
sented with either a comput- 
r animation or a graphic 
segment that explains what 
you've selected 

In What's YourScore?, us- 
srs are initially presented 
with an animated cityscape. 
When you move the cursor 
onto different elements of 
the scene — say a trash can, 
a car, a subway train, or a 
light shining in an apart- 
ment — you get a short, nar- 
rated animation deschbing 
how that element contrib- 



utes to the production of car- 
bon dioxide in the atmos- 
phere. From this city scene 
you can focus on, say, the 
exhaust pipe of the car and 
see an animation which de- 
scribes how scientists calcu- 
late the amount of CO^ pro- 
duced by burning gasoline. 
In another program, 
called Computer Modeling, 
you can watch a simulation 
of how increasing carbon- 
dioxide levels in the atmos- 
phere cause the planet to 
heat up This simulation is 
created using images from 
the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration 



York for eight months. Glob- 
al Warming will tour around 
the country for at least three 
years. Ottier stops include 
the Los Angeles County Mu- 
seum of Natural History, the 
Carnegie Science Center " 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and 
the National Museum of Mat- 
ural History at the Smithsoni- 
an Institution in Washington, 
DC. Already the AMNH has 
had so much interest that 
Sam Taylor, the museum's 
director of exhibitions, says 
they are considering cloning 
the exhibit so there can be 
two shows touring simultane- 
ously There's even been inter- 




EVERYTKING'S REUTEDt CLOUDS, SUN, AIR, CITIES, CARS 



in Rockville, Maryland, and 
from NASA's Goddard Insti- 
tute for Space Studies. 

Computer Modeling 
shows how scientists use 
computers to model the plan- 
et and predict climate chang- 
es. It gives visitors a 
chance to see what goes in- 
to building a climate model 
and then allows them to ex- 
plore how more complex re- 
al-life ones work. The third 
program explores how the 
different elements of the cli- 
mate all interrelate— the 
clouds, the oceans, the for- 
ests, the sun, the air, and al- 
so human discoveries and 
phenomena, including the 
building of megacities. The 
fourth program will look at 
what's being done to address 
the problem. It will investigate 
the relationship between glob- 
al warming and issues such 
as deforestation and the burn- 
ing of fossil fuels. 

After exhibiting in New 



est from Japanese and Ger- 
man museums. This is espe- 
cially pleasing, says Taylor, 
since these are precisely the 
countries that, after the 
United States, are contribut- 
ing most heavily to the green- 
house effect. 

Taylor says that because 
of AMNH's resources, it was 
one of the few places any- 
where that could have mount- 
ed such an ambitious project. 
It's an incredibly exciting 
step and one which "not on- 
ly puts the museum at the fore- 
front of exhibition technology, 
but also at the forefront of sci- 
ence education." Taylor be- 
lieves this is just the begin- 
ning and thai more and 
more interactive programs 
are going to be featured in 
their exhibits at the AMNH. "I 
don't think we're anywhere 
near to the limits of what's go- 
ing to be possible with this 
technology." 

What will be possible is 



still being defined by the 
new breed of young pro- 
grammer communicators 
like Jeff Jones — people who 
are computer literate but 
are first and foremost com- 
municators. A graduate of 
New York University's Inter- 
active Telecommunications 
Program where he now 
teaches part-time, Jones is 
constantly stretching the lit 
its of currently available tech- 
nology to create a more vi- 
brant interactive experi- 
ence. He's often on the 
phone to software compa- 
nies like MacroMind, push- 
ing for new features to be in- 
corporated into both soft- 
ware and hardware. And, in- 
deed, multimedia software 
and hardware is booming. In- 
teractive multimedia will 
to the Nineties what word 
processing was to the Eight- 
ies — and look at how quick- 
ly that developed. In less 
than a decade we've gone 
from crude text-editing to 
full-blown electronic publish- 
ing. Jones says he is look- 
ing to the future and consid- 
enng rriore advanced hard- 
ware capable of extremely 
sophisticated simulations 
and more interactivity. 

Interactive multimedia at 
the AMNH isn't just confined 
to the Global Warming exhi- 
bition; it will also be used ir 
the new Hall of Human Biol- 
ogy and Evolution, which 
opens in 1993. In particula 
there will be a number of pro- 
grams that define what a hu- 
man being is. Most of these 
programs are being pro- 
duced independently from 
the museum. The most high- 
ly interactive is called l-lomi- 
nid Hunters, a game-like pro- 
gram in which users play at 
being paleoanthropologists 
looking for fossil remains. 
Once you find some bones, 
you have to decide how 
you're going to study them. 
But since all science is con- 
ducted in the real world of 
financial constraints, bud- 
ding hominid hunters will 
find themselves playing 
against a depleting grant 
fund. When your grant runs 



oul, so does your research time. Learn- 
ing through games is a concept which 
Willard Whitson, exiiibit designer of the 
new hall, believes is going to prove ex- 
tremely successful. 

In another section of the Evolution 
hall will be three related programs 
about primates, mammals, and. DMA. Vis- 
itors will be able to control how they see 
the images; for instance, you'll be able 
to slow them down, speed them up, or 
replay segments, depending on what in- 
terests you. Also in this hall there will 
be an electronic newspaper which can 
be constantly updated to include new 
findings. The field of evolution, particular- 
ly human evolution, is very contentious, 
and new data and theories are coming 
to light all the time. "The electronic news- 
paper will allow the public to see the 
debate," Whitson says — to see that sci- 
ence isn't cut-and-dried. For instance, 
no one knows exactly which evolution- 
ary path humans took, a topic current- 
ly being debated by paleoanthropolo- 
gists. With the electronic newspaper, 
the museum will keep us posted on the 
latest developments In science. 

Perhaps AMNH's most ambitious in- 
teractive is one which allows visitors to 
explore evolutionary relationships be- 
tween organisms. Designed and imple- 
mented byArborescence, a small, high- 



ly imaginative company in San Francis- 
co, the program will be part of the Fos- 
sil Hall which is being renovated and 
will be completed in 1994. The interac- 
tive planned for the Fossil Hall is a 
spinoff of LIFEmap, a program Arbores- 
cence originally produced for the Cali- 
fornia Academy of Sciences in San Fran- 
cisco where it is currently up and run- 
ning. Operating on eight separate Macin- 
tosh computers, LIFEmap shows evo- 
lutionary relationships for every kind of 
organism we know about, from single- 
celled bacteria to dinosaurs and mam- 
mals (including humans). 

Starting with simple life forms, visitors 
can progress up the tree of evolution, 
learning along the way how scientists 
believe life evolved on our planet. The 
program, which was developed under 
the expert guidance of more than 20 
Academy scientists, visualizes evolution- 
ary relationships based on cladistics— 
the science of classifying life forms. 

In its current form in San Francisco, 
LIFEmap uses mainly still images. In the 
program's new incarnation at the Amer- 
ican Museum of Natural History, how- 
ever, every organism and new evolution- 
ary trait will be illustrated with a short 
video segment or computer animation. 
Designed by Chris Krueger and Amy 
Pertschuk, one program shows the skel- 




eton of a tyrannosaurus as it walks. You 
can see how every bone of the dino- 
saur moves. Pertschuk explained that 
they scanned in a photograph of a real 
tyrannosaurus skeleton from the muse- 
um's collection and then animated 
each bone separately. The great 
beast lives again. 

I also saw a simulation of the most 
strongly supported theory about how 
flight evolved, which suggests that 
wings developed from the arms ot 
ground-based animals. As I watched, 
an image of arm bones metamor- 
phosed into wing bones, which grew 
feathers and took off and flew across 
the screen. It was a fantastic visualiza- 
tion of a scientific theory. The evolution 
of flight is still a matter of debate, but 
this simulation gave me a sense of 
what it is that evolutionary biologists are 
trying to unravel. It brought biology to 
life and made an elaborate theory im- 
mediately understandable. 

The LIFEmap exhibit at AMNH won't 
cover the whole of life on Earth, just verte- 
brates — fish, reptiles (including dino- 
saurs), amphibians, birds, mammals, 
and their early relatives. The whole 
point of the project, Krueger says, is 'to 
take a subject that is very complex and 
make it into something which is fun in 
a picture-book kind of way — but also 
there's lots of real science in there as 
well." And that's one of the great pow- 
ers of interactive multimedia — you can 
present a complex subject as an unfold- 
ing story with color and movement, 
sound and music, text and images 

According to Pertschuk, the program 
is "like a living textbook — we can 
change it, and it can evolve. There can 
be a first edition and a twentieth edi- 
tion," and with each edition, new fea- 
tures and new information can be incor- 
porated, "it's just going to get better 
and better," she says. The program can 
also be adapted to make use of new 
technology such as faster computers or 
more sophisticated software. 

It's not only the American Museum of 
Natural History that is getting into inter- 
active exhibits, They are springing up 
all over the country The National Geo- 
graphic Society's museum in Washing- 
ton features exhibits about the earth's 
geography and history, while the Com- 
puter Museum in Boston uses interac- 
tive videodiscs to familiarize visitors 
with computers. The Franklin Institute Sci- 
ence Museum in Philadelphia, the Smith- 
sonian Institution in Washington, the 
New York Hall of Science in Corona, 
and the Canadian Museum of Civiliza- 
tion in Hull, Quebec, are just a few of 
the others now utilizing this technology 
As Sam Taylor boldly declared — "this 
is just the beginning." DO 



Next, I turned my scrupulous atten- 
tion upon the family parrot Sheba: an 
exotic creature imported from Brazil, 
with exquisite green, yellow, golden, 
and blood-red feathers, and a saucy 
crest, and shrewd, watchful, malicious 
eyes. As I painted, I whistled — and She- 
ba playfully mimicked my whistle. Some- 
times I sang, to placate her, "Pretty 
birdi O beautiful Sheba!" and the crea- 
ture mimicked my voice, though not my 
words, crying, "Fool Tonicl Fool-fool 
'Tonic!" I laughed, and Sheba echoed 
my laughter, though in a mocking so- 
prano. Why is it that household pels, 
especially parrots and cats, become ty- 
rants sometimes? — willful as Indian 
maharajas in their domestic settings? 
Our beloved Sheba, thirty years old, 
was certainly the dominant will in our fam- 
ily, since Momma's death the previous 
year. Even Poppa, Mayor ot cur pro- 
vincial town, and, by ancestral tradition, 
a descendant of royalty, was no match 
for Sheba when she exerted her will 
squawk-squawk-squawking to get her 
way. 

Of course, the South American par- 
rot is one of the wonders of the natural 
world. In such brilliant, dazzling, pain- 
terly beauty, any number of flaws of char- 
acter are forgiven; and so it was in our 
household, with Sheba, whom we 
prized — I, Antonio, In particular. 

My paintings of Sheba, sixteen of 
them painted within the space of a de- 
lirious iwo-week period, are valued as 
examples of "primitive genius" — "un- 
schooled classicism" — "provincial mag- 
ic." Poppa and I exhibited them at a re- 
gional fair, and ail the canvases were 
sold; two were awarded prizes; all 
were written up glowingly in newspa- 
pers, and I, Antonio, to my surprise, was 
the subject of a profile in a national mag- 
azine. Poppa acted as my brol<er, ne- 
gotiating with buyers of my work, and 
putting my money in a special account 
in our local bank, under his name. He 
then gave me a fixed allowance, out of 
which I could buy my art supplies. "I 
hope you are pleased, Antonio?" Pop- 
pa asked, "stroking his beard — that 
rich, black, bristling beard that, from ear- 
liest boyhood, I could not help but en- 
vy. "Yes, Poppa," I said quietly. "Your 
allowance is a very generous one, for 
a young man of your age and position," 
Poppa said, as if testing me. But I 
said, quietly, as before, "Yes, Poppa. 
Very generous." 

After the heady success of the fair, 
I never painted another canvas with She- 
ba's likeness. Fcllowing the temper- 
amental vagaries of her species, She- 
ba began to pick at her breast, until 
most of the splendid feathers there 
were gone, she managed to pick even 

60 OMNI 



at her wings and back, and was scon 
an ugly, blood-stippled sight. Lucia, 
who, after Momma's death, had 
spoiled Sheba with all sorts of treats 
and special attentions, was upset at 
first; and then despondent. And, unac- 
countably, angry at me — "If you had not 
painted her so beautifully, she might 
still be unblemished," Lucia said. 
"Youl — stealing her of her beauty, in the " 
name of art!" 

It was a mercy when, one day, we dis- 
covered Sheba lifeless and stiff on the 
floor of her cage, amid droppings and 
dhed patches of blood. Poor thingi We 
all wept, including the servants. 

And yet, how blissful the morning si- 
lence, uninterrupted by Sheba's cries. 

I had mentioned that Poppa was May- 
or of our town. In fact. Poppa had 
been first elected to this illustrious 
post twenty-three years ago, but his 
term of office had iDeen turbulent, and 



4lt was 

a mercy when, one day, 

we found 

Sheba lifeless and 

stiff on 

the- floor of her cage. 

Poor 
thing! We all wept. 9 



marred by charges of graft and corrup- 
tion; he had not sought re-election. In 
subsequent years, other holders of the 
office were similarly charged by their po- 
litical rivals and enemies (for ours is a 
contentious province), and the most re- 
cent, preceding Poppa's second elec- 
tion, was sent tc prison for extorting 
bribes and embezzlement — so that, as 
even Poppa's critics were forced to ad- 
mit. Poppa did not appear half so bad, 
by comparison! So it has always been, 
for centuries, seemingly tor millennia, in 
this remote, hilly, verdant province 
north of Rome. Graft, corruption, men- 
dacity, vanity! A history of infamyl 
Which is why the more sensitive of its 
progeny have traditionally turned to the 
Church (that is, to its ascetic orders, 
cloistered convents and monastehes), 
and to the abiding solace of art. For 
what does it profit a man. that he gain 
liie worid. but lose his soul? 

Poppa, in his position as Mayor, com- 
missioned a portrait of himself, to be 
hung in the .foyer of the mayoral resi- 
dence — and who was the portraitist tc 



be but I, Antonio! There were murmur- 
ings of nepotism, and complaints that 
the commission was far too generous 
(though, by current standards, as 
such things are measured, the commis- 
sion was not excessively high for an ex- 
perienced artist, at least), but Poppa 
paid not the slightest heed, and coun- 
seled me to behave likewise. 

So, with some trepidation, I painted 
my own father's portrait — the first hu- 
man subject I ever undertook. Dear 
Poppa! — a vain, blustering, overbearing 
man, yet touchingly direct in his ego- 
tism, "Shall I paint you as you are. Pop- 
pa," I asked politely, " — or as you wish 
to be remembered?" Poppa, seated in 
the Mayor's chair by an open window, 
his heavy head held unnaturally high 
and his bearing self-consciously regal, 
replied with childlike ingenuousness, 
"Why, paint me exactly as I am, silly 
boy — for that is how people will want to 
remember me." 

The sittings were a strain more for me 
than for Poppa, who readily passed in- 
to an open-eyed daze, sated by wine 
and food {our sessions were midafter- 
noon, following Poppa's enormous mid- 
day meal, which was nearly as lavish 
as his evening meal), or, by degrees, 
sank into a blissful, snoring, leaden 
sleep. Never had I known that painting — 
the wielding of a mere brush! — could 
be so arduous. It was as if, in painting 
my father, from .whose veins my own 
rich blood had partly sprung, I was ex- 
punging, from myself, a secret part of 
myself, unfathomed until that time. How 
ugly Poppa was, for a man commonly 
spoken of as "handsome" — how venal, 
how petty, how self-important, how cru- 
el and mendacious his features! My 
brush moved gropingly at first, and I ru- 
ined one canvas after another, and had 
to start over, in disgust, having not the 
patience (or, perhaps, the stomach) to 
rework the original image, layering it in 
oils until it was covered by another. Grad- 
ually, however, I came to terms with Pop- 
pa's image — with Poppa. The man's 
strong-boned face — his black bristling 
beard — his deep- socketed, dark, glar- 
ing eyes — that smiling grimace that 
gave his face the look of a nocturnal 
creature surprised and displeased by 
daylight; All this I managed to transfer 
to the canvas, painting for hours with- 
out rest, in a trance, day following day 
At the conclusion of a session. Poppa 
merely glanced at the canvas as it be- 
gan to take shape, and grunted, wheth- 
er in approval or disapproval I could not 
know; in any case, uneducated as the 
man was, he had no true eye for art, 
and did not even know, as the truism 
has it, what he believed he should like. 
He did complain of my slowness, how- 



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ever — "Boy, d'you think you, and I, are 
going to live forever?" Once seated in 
his cushioned chair, confident he 
would not be rudely interrupted (for the 
Mayor's assistants, without exception old- 
er females, did the daily work of the of- 
fice, and did it uncomplainingly, for 
shockingly modest salaries). Poppa 
quickly slipped into a daze, or a doze, 
while I, Antonio, labored to bring forth 
a portrait worthy of my name. 

Which, I believe, I have done. 

Of course, I have not the originai^l 
have only this photograph, a poor re- 
production that does not begin to sug- 
gest the portrait's somber yet savage 
demeanor; its formal elegance; its rich 
chiaroscuro, "an ingenuous rendehng 
of a petty tyrant," as one reviewer has 
said, "worthy of the genius of Goya," 

The portrait was angrily denounced 
by Poppa's successor in office, thus nev- 
er hung in the foyer, as intended; but 
it was eagerly purchased — at several 
times the phce of the commission— by 
one of my New York collectors. Poor 
Poppa! — he did not arrange for the pur- 
chase, which would have pleased him 
enormously. 

For Poppa is departed; whither he 
has gone, no one, not even his closest 
political associates, nor even the beau- 
tiful peasant woman with whom he some- 
times slept, seem to know. 

At our final session, Poppa slumped 
in his chair as usual; and I, as usual, 
though perhaps more intensely than usu- 
al, labored at the ugly, intransigent im- 
age on the canvas, until my arm grew 
so heavy I could scarcely move my 
brush, and my body was slick with per- 
spiration Inside my clothes. I thought of 
the teachings of the great Englishman 
Locke, who looked upon man as an ob- 
ject in nature, not fundamentally distinct 
from other objects in nature, and 
wished, indeed wlllsd: that the subject 
of my portrait, though nominally my fa- 
ther, but in essence a mere composite 
of molecules, atoms, and forcefields of 
incalculable subtlety, be transposed on- 
to my canvas: rendered into my art, 
once and for all. 

You are surprised, I did not pray to 
God? — but, like any artist of genius, I 
do not believe in God. I do not believe 
in God because I have no need of 
God — the artist's credo is that simple. 

During that grueling session, how- 
ever. Poppa played one of his pranks 
on me. He must have woken out of his 
sodden sleep, seen me fierce in con- 
centration at the easei, and slipped 
away without my noticing; oddly, for he 
was a large, bulky man, and hardly 
graceful on his feet. But when, at last 
near dusk, I looked up in triumph, know- 
ing my portrait was finished, I saw that 

52 OMNI 



Poppa was gone — vanished! His throne- 
like chair was empty, though the faded 
cushion bore the imprint of his solid but- 
tocks, and the head and arm rests 
gleamed faintly with oil. The door to the 
stairs stood partly ajar. So obsessed 
had I been with the painting, I had not 
even heard Poppa's heavy footsteps on 
the stairs. I had not even had the op- 
portunity to murmur, "Goodbye, dear 
Poppa!" as certainly I would have 
done, had I known he was departing. 
For. by a coincidence, surely, it was 
that very night that Poppa disappeared 
from our town. Some charged thai the 
mayor had absconded with funds from 
a mutual cache he and his political cro- 
nies had established out of "lost" — or 
embezzled — municipal funds; others 
claimed that he must have been ab- 
ducted, and later murdered — for Pop- 
pa never reappeared, no news ever 
came of him, and his body, the proud 



Q prefer 

a dream life to one of 

constant 

pain and condescension, 

of medals 

and bunting and empty 

words; I 

intend to fight for it.? 



bearer of a six-hundred-year-old 
name, was never found. 

Lucia said, simply, gazing at Poppa's 
protrait, "He is dead. Of course." 

Poor Poppa — but, more than that, 
poor Lucial In our household, it was she 
who grieved the most bitterly; yet as 
much out of spite, I think, as genuine 
sorrow at our loss, for, being a woman, 
and unmarried, she eventually inherited 
only a modest portion of Poppa's es- 
tate, and her brothers the remainder. I, 
Antonio, the youngest, received the 
most, for Poppa, even in his duplicity, 
had been honesf enough to allocate my 
own earnings as a painter to me. (And 
these earnings were higher than I'd 
knownl — what a rascal, poor Poppa.) 
As the months passed, Lucia not only 
mourned our father, but cast veiled, re- 
proachful eyes upon me, as if — 
though, mean-spirited, purse-lipped, 
she never said so — my portrait of him 
was in some way responsible for his 
death 

But in what way? — by all the para- 



digms of c 

Thus, in stealth, to record for pos- 
terity the lineaments of the low-minded, 
suspicious, paranofc^ personality so par- 
adoxically housed in an ample, attrac- 
tive, female body, I painted Lucia's por- 
trait too, without her knowledge — but 
that is another story 

You may see her here — her likeness, 
that is— in this photograph, which 
does not begin to do justice to the orig- 
inal, I'm afraid. 

The original'^ — in a private collection, 
in New York City 

Now, will you be seated, over there? 
Shall we begin? 

^Joyce Carol Dates 

VICTORY 

Last night I dreamed my legs were danc- 
ing. I saw them pale and perfect (my 
best feature, I've been told), sheared off 
neatly at mid-lhigh, whirling against a 
starry sky kicking their way across a 
plain that might have been the waste 
west of Al Hafra where I was shot 
down. Then some miserable lightning 
jolted along my spine, waking me, and 
I have spent the rest of the early morn- 
ing answering a letter from my mother, 
trying to explain why I intend to stay in 
Cairo. My pension, I say, will not 
stretch so far at home; the hashish is 
not so good, and no matter how cun- 
ning the prosthesis, a legless woman fec- 
es certain difficulties in finding lovers — 
I prefer the uncomplicated greed of 
Egyptian men to the twisted compul- 
sions of American freaks. I hope these 
brutal half-truths will close the subject. 
There is nothing left for me in the 
States. The yellow ribbon tied about the 
maple in my parent's front yard has 
long since bleached white as bone 

Of course there are no Egyptian lov- 
ers, no hashish, no cheap tiotel room 
in Cairo — Cairo is but the emblem of 
some guilt, some unresolved emotion- 
al business with the region. My only re- 
alities are the voices of the VA doctors 
and the clever machines that seek to 
drag me back from the serenity of my 
psychological retreat by creating this 
dream world and coaxing me to act out 
my feelings of loss. I am not a fool, I 
understand these things. Yet my sen- 
timents remain unchanged. I prefer a 
dream life to one of constant pain, pit- 
ying stares and condescension, of med- 
als, bunting, and empty words; I intend 
to fight for it. They are, after all, my 
dreams, and I know best how to ma- 
nipulate them. I want to fold them 
about me like a magic cloak, to create 
a rich, impenetrable solitude. I stare out 
the window onto Tewfik Square. On a 
traffic island at its center stands the co- 
lossal statue of Ramses II, ruler now of 



''Our Eureka! Tent kept us dry... 

even though the storm soaked other campers and blew down other tents!' 

Over the ye; l!y hn home. We know that 

Eiirakatlenl: 

The StormShield 



1 sou 848 3G73 




a tjny country ol chipped cement and 
parched grass. We are both victims of 
foolish obsessions. But I will become no 
monument to mine. At nine o'clock I 
spread my photographs, my souvenirs 
of war, on the table. In one I am stand- 
ing beside a Cobra gunship, flight hel- 
met in hand, smiling tightly. Touching 
it, I feel the surge of engines, the pulse 
ol rotors (tremors from a black box 
whose wires lead into my head), and in 
a second I am aloft, skimming low over 
the dunes. Behind me, phalanxes of U- 
1 tanks and LAVs, black Stealth 
queens in their hangar hives, wombs 
bursting with rockets. I hear in the dis- 
tance the baying patriotism of a coun- 
try swollen with dumb pride, tough talk 
from old political men with nothing to 
lose but their reputations { "What's 
that? Can't you sharpen the image?" 
"She's back in the chopper again. " 
"Christ! Get her out of there!"), the one 
fueling the other, the both fueling this 
practice apocalypse. Through my night- 
vision goggles, the sky is a luminous, 
grainy blue, beaded white with tracers 
and popcorn blooms of anti-aircraft 
tire that spray upward from a legendary 
city, its sl<yline figured with onion 
domes and mountains of blood. Statues 
of Liberty and VJotld Trade Centers. My 
missiles perform surgical strikes, slice 
the tops from phallic minarets,' blind the 



faceted eyes of office buildings. My twen- 
ty-millimeter cannon herds victims along 
the avenues: teenagers in tight jeans, 
women in chador, miniskirted whores, 
soldiers of every nation. No need for 
damage assessment. For each death a 
fumingblack star materializes in my 
brain. The vengeance I take is purely 
personal — I am no longer political, 

I land in a dusty square at the edge 
of the souk. Narrow winding streets, stuc- 
co walls inset with doors of many col- 
ors, the signs above the shops with fr- 
inged curtains a neon tangle of Arabic 
and Roman script. Unmindful of the 
crowd's babble {"Where the hell is 
she?" "Some !<lnci ofmarl<et " "Did you 
program this?" "Fuck no!" "Then shut 
it down!" "You know damn well that'll 
fry her brains, man'"), I idle among 
stalls selling fruit that glows like im- 
mense gems, the stuffed heads of pres- 
idents, love potions, helicopter parts, 
camel saddles, peace accords. At the 
Shop of Legs, a dark little monkey- 
man in a fez and a shabby suit displays 
his wares. Tawny, muscular legs; soft 
lover's legs; model's legs, long and 
shapely. All hung from the ceiling on 
steel pins. "But for you, beautiful lady," 
he says, "something special," He 
draws back a crimson curtain to reveal 
a pair like none other. Inscribed with a 
jeweled circuitry that produces hot- 



orange butterflies, emerald serpents, 
and ruby skulls, images like electric tai- 
toos on the milky skin. Some of the 
toes twitch, sensing my presence. 

The legs meld with my stumps, we 
are one, and 1 feel the circuitry spread- 
ing through me, warmer than blood. 
Jade spiders traipse across my belly, 
indigo birds bloom on my breasts, gold- 
en lions peer out though my eyes. Moon- 
colored vines filigree my secret hair. As 
I stroll, wrapped in a kind of heated 
calm, I accept this Arabian night for my 
new home; it seems sufficiently vivid to 
suit the tempers of my torched spirit. 
The eyes of men in the cages smoking 
water pipes harden into scorpions that 
lift their tails into crescent shapes. Ti- 
gers lounge on silk cushions in the shad- 
ows. Houris waver like mirages. But grad- 
ually, chaos is invading the souk. Out 
of the corners of my eyes I see curious 
dark shapes scuttling, speaking in crack- 
ling voices like the sounds of fire ("/ 
don't like these readings, man. " "Then 
do something, damn it!" "I can't fuck- 
ing reach her!"}. Scents of mustard gas 
mingle with those of myrrh, and attar of 
roses. Nightingales mate in their cag- • 
es, a flurry of brown wings and songs 
like the whistles of incoming, only sweet- 
er. The doors in the stucco walls swing 
open, offering sanctuary. In the dim- 
ness beyond them 1 make out somno- 



, ,. -_ rase days a single bright human being wliat else was going 

d pretty well teach himsell (it was almost always a himself in most always did, because that's wh. 

■ days) everything there was to know about science. If that could seek membership in, say, England's Rcy 

jn happened to be, say, an isaac Newton, he could even they could get together every now and then an 

3 major contributions to many separate areas of scientific knowl- of good English roast beef and 

, as by himself Newton solved the puzzle of the rainbow, set each other report on the very I 
of motion, proposed the theory of universal gravi- Well, that time is 

n, yes, took time out to invent calculus along the m " ' '- 



I' WB i . lili lg i iiiJ 



hundred years, and so has sci- 




CHASING SCIENCE 

Once a year, the world's scientists 
gather for six days to explain the worid as they know it 

BY FREDERIK POHL 






ence. Science isn't simple anymore, 
and it certainly isn't small. There's too 
much to know. All the decades-long train- 
ing that goes into the making of, say, a 
first-raie seismologist tells him {or, hap- 
pily, quite often now her) nothing at all 
about forensic biochemistry or quantum 
chromodynamics. The scientists them- 
selves haven't changed that much, 
though. What makes a scientist tick is 
the same yearning itch that drove New- 
ton and Euclid and Einstein and every 
other great scientist: the itch to know, 
to know everything there is to know 
about everything there is — and that's 
what the AAAS is all about. 

The AAAS — its full name is the Amer- 
ican Association for the Advancement 
of Science— is the largest multidiscipli- 
nary scientific society in the United 
States, if not in the world, with 135,000 
individual members and nearly 300 af- 
filiated societies. The AAAS [pro- 
nounced Ifiple-A-S) is where the peo- 
ple who measure Neanderthal jaw- 
bones in Israeli caves join with the peo- 
ple who study astronomy by collecting 
meteorites on Antarctica's ice shelves 
and the people sequencing the human 
genome. When these wonderfully di- 
verse people get together, once each 
year, to compare notes, it is not a 
small occasion. The Bible tells us that 
God took only six days to make the heav- 
ens and the Earth, The scientists, be- 
ing merely human, don't do as well as 
that. It takes them just as long— a Thurs- 
day through a Tuesday of every year — 
simply to explain to each other their 
best current opinions about how all 
those things work. 

But you can't really learn everything 
about current science even at a AAAS 
meeting, not unless you can clone your- 
self 10 or 15 times. Except for the eve- 
ning plenary lectures, there are seldom 
fewer than a dozen program events go- 
ing on at once — and that doesn't 
count the exhibits, poster sessions, 
field trips (to nearby scientific centers 
like Fermilab, the Adier Planetarium, 
and the Argonne National-Laboratory), 
or the Saturday-night singles bar for the 
science-ohented unattached. 

There are a fair number of science- 
fiction fans at the AAAS meeting, 
which should surprise no one because 
scientists are what a lot of young sci- 
ence-fiction fans grow up to be. Some 
of them felt right at home because the 
meeting site, a Hyatt Regency hotel in 
Chicago, was also the location of the 
Wforld Science Fiction Convention a few 
months earlier. At AAAS, the room par- 
ties are quieter and there are fewer peo- 
ple wearing hall costumes and Spock 
ears, but otherwise the place looks 
much the same, 

58 OMNI 



When Susan Solomon of the Nation- 
al Oceanic and Atmosphenc Administra- 
tion got up to deliver her evening lec- 
ture on "Ozone depletion at the ends 
of the earth and points between," 
there were resonances from the SF 
Worldcon. Solomon delivered her lec- 
ture in the same Grand Ballroom 
where Marta Randall-had handed out 
the Hugo awards for science fiction. Be- 
sides being a fine writer, Maria is a com- 
pact person, and she had made a com- 
edy routine out of raising and lowering 
the microphone as she introduced the 
Hugo award winners, Susan Solomon 
is no taller. Since she was introduced 
by F. Sherwood Rowland, then presi- 
dent-elect of AAAS (and one of the 
first scientists to do research on ozone 
depletion), and Rowland is well over six 
feet tall, the same byplay got the same 
laughs at AAAS. 

That was the last funny part. 



4To hear 

Marvin Minsky on artificial 

intedigence 

meant missing Roaid 

Sagdeev on 

international cooperation 

and half-a- 
dozen other lectures. 9 



though, because when Solomon got in- 
to her lecture, what she had to say v/as 
not amusing, Although she is no more 
than five foot four, she boldly goes 
where larger (and maler) human beings 
are reluctant to venture: She was the on- 
ly woman on a 16-member team that 
spent an Antarctic spring studying the 
ozone layer over the bottom of the 
world. The ozone hole isn't diminishing, 
Solomon reported. Indeed, at its ^ 
recent pehod, essentially a// the ozone 
was gone from the thickest part of Ant- 
arctica's ozone layer. 

At one time, ttiat might not have great- 
ly worried an audience in Chicago, at 
least not in any personal way. After all, 
there aren't many creatures in Antarc- 
tica likely to suffer skin cancers or cat- 
aracts from the excess ultraviolet, and 
most of us don't worry much about the 
penguins or the leopard seals. Such in- 
difference wasn't possible anymore, 
though. Several surveys, one of them 
released by NASA just days before the 
meeting, had shown warning signs of 
impending ozone losses far from the Ant- 



arctic — in fact, a belt of them extend- 
ed completely around the northern 
hemisphere of the Earth, including the 
skies over Chicago. 

Climate change was a hot subject at 
AAAS as well, with an entire track of ses- 
sions devoted to it. One of the most wor- 
risome prospects of global warming is 
a continuing increase in the number 
and violence of storms. As the scien- 
tists were discussing that possibility 
southern California was being battered 
by an unprecedented downpour that 
flooded homes and trailer camps and 
turned Ventura Boulevard into a water- 
way, as the Los Angeles River (usually 
detectable only as a muddy trickle at 
the bottom of a concrete culvert) abrupt- 
ly filled and overflowed its banks. 

If global warming is indeed caused 
by the increase in human-generated car- 
bon dioxide in the air (and the two 
have risen in step since the Industrial 
Revolution began), then one way to 
slow it down would be to reduce con- 
sumption of fossil fuels. There were plen- 
ty of sessions on that subject in the 
track called "Energy for tiie Twenty- 
First Century." The proponents of bi- 
ofuels had slides to show the success 
of their research in growing selected 
strains of poplar trees or grasses to 
burn in place of coal, oil, or natural gas; 
the nuclear-power scientists had their 
designs for fail-safe fission reactors and 
even hopes for commercial fusion pow- 
er plants. 

The fusion people, too, had news to 
report, since a few months earlier a deu- 
terium-tritium experiment had actually 
produced sizable energy for a compar- 
atively long penod of time — the best 
showing yet for all the fusion-power re- 
search. But even if the technical prob- 
lems of commercializing that deuterium- 
tritium process could be solved, we're 
not likely to see a demonstration fusion 
power plant much before the year 2020, 
with large-scale power production may- 
be ten years after that. 

Most conservationists would argue 
that the immediate key to solving ener- 
gy and global-warming problems lies 
less in finding new energy sources 
than in cutting back on the amount of 
energy used. Home heating is a tempt- 
ing target. Replacing the windows in 
America's homes with ones that allow 
less heat to escape, it was shown, 
would save more energy than the Alas- 
ka pipeline delivers every year. 

Transportation was another area 
ripe for energy savings, and there the 
hottest new technology was magnetic 
levitalion— transporting people and 
goods in cars that are magnetically sup- 
ported and thus essentially frictionless. 
James R. Powell and Gordon Danby of 



Brookhaven National Laboratory, Hen- 
ry H. Kolm of Magneplane Internation- 
al, and others described what a nation- 
al maglev system could do. Many Amer- 
icans (and a lot of legislators) are 
turned off by ttie idea of maglev trans- 
portation, the scientists pointed out, be- 
cause they confuse maglev with clunky, 
ponderous, locomotive-driven trains. 
But maglev is not a railroad. It has no 
moving wheels for traction or support; 
it floats. The maglev vehicle carries no 
fuel or heavy engine; it's only a shell to 
hold cargo and passengers, so it's 
light. It doesn't depend on the friction 
of steel driving wheels on steel rails to 
pull it, so it can accelerate as fast as a 
jet plane on takeoff, faster than that, if 
desired — as fast as the passengers can 
stand it. And it doesn't have to be 
joined with other cars to make a train. 
Instead, individual cars can be dis- 
patched — one every 20 seconds or so, 
if the traffic justifies that many. Since 
there are so many individual cars, they 
won't all have to stop at every "station"; 
the maglev designers plan to copy the 
skip-stop strategy that Amtrak's Metro- 
liner currently uses between New York 
and Washington, DC. Maglev won't 
need "megahubs," whether sprawling 
airports or huge railroad terminals; the 
designers intend to have a stop at ev- 



ery community and even every large 
shopping mall along the way. 

None of this comes -cheap. The 
maglev designers estimate construction 
costs of $200 billion to put a 15,000- 
mile system of elevated guideways over 
the existing interstate highways, Bui 
that vast sum is, after all, only 1 perceni 
of the money we will spend on trans- 
portation over the next 20 years any- 
way. And once in place, maglev can car- 
ry passengers (for about three cents a 
mile) or piggyback freight (for about sev- 
en cents per ton-mile) at 300 miles an 
hour almost anywhere in the United 
States, with excursions to a couple of 
Canadian cities as well. Maglev will al- 
ways be faster than cars or convention- 
al railroads; since there will be no 
need to get to and from an airport, no 
takeoff delays, and few delays caused 
by weather, it will generally be faster 
even than jet travel for journeys up to 
about a thousand miles — at half the en- 
ergy cost of automobile driving and a 
quarter the energy cost of flying. 

There's more than one way to skin a 
cat, and Battelle Memorial institute's Ed- 
ward S. Lipinsky attacks the carbon- 
dioxide/g I otial -warming problem from an- 
other angle entirely He has an interest- 
ing idea for dealing with at least some 
fraction of the surplus carbon dioxide 



that comes from the burning of fossil fu- 
els. There have been many proposals 
for extracting this carbon dioxide from 
flue gases and disposing of it in some 
harmless way— for instance, pumping 
it down to the bottom of the sea. All of 
these disposal methods are expensive 
and difficult. Why throw it all away, Lip- 
insky asks. Why not use some of the 
stuff? It has many virtues. Like other 
bulk raw materials, it can be used as a 
feedstock to manufacture useful mate- 
rials, it's currently available in pure 
form in large quantities, and it's cheap^ 
about $40 a ton. Unlike those materi- 
als, it's now going to waste and, in 
fact, needs to be disposed of. 

The only thing wrong with carbon di- 
oxide as a feedstock is that it's chemi- 
cally highly unreactive — at least, for us 
human beings and our factories. 
Plants, however, don't have any prob- 
lem at all with the stuff. Through photo- 
synthesis, they have no trouble break- 
ing It down to make the chemicals they 
need. The world's trees, grasses, flow- 
ering plants, and algae manufacture bil- 
lions of tons of organic chemicals from 
atmospheric carbon dioxide every 
year. In spite of the tact that the gas 
is only available to them in a decidedly 
impure state: It constitutes less than 
4/100 of 1 percent of the atmosphere 




from which they extract it. Now, human 
chemical industries can slarl wilh 100-. 
percent-pure carbon dioxide and apply 
advanced technologies, such as polym- 
erization and redox reactions, to turn 
this unwanted waste product into use- 
ful complex organic molecules. 

Six days of morning and afternoon 
panel sessions provide a lot of person- 
hours of data transmission on subjects 
from the ethics of clinical trials, elec- 
tronic networking, and the science of 
psychoanalysis to high-energy physics, 
supercomputer applications, and space 
research. Each of the two dozen 
tracks provided its own fascination. "Ftet- 
terns of Life in Ur- 
ban and Rural 
America" covered 
everything from in- 
teractions in Ihe 
megalopolis to Ihe 
future of rural Amer- 
ica, with several 
sessions devoted 
to urban drugs, 
gangs, and crime. 
David C. Lewis of 
Brown University, 
looking at the rela- 
tionships among 
them, broke drug- 
reiated violent 
crime into three 
categories: crime 
caused by drug 
use; crime caused 
by the need to buy 
drugs; and "turf" 
crime among com- 
peting drug sell- 
ers. Surprisingly, 
he found Ihaf in 
the first category, 
the only drug that 
produced a higher 
rate of violent 
crime was the le- 
gal one, alcohol. 
Since almost all vi- 
olent crimes asso- 
ciated with narcot- 
ics resulted from trafficking in the 
drugs rather than taking them, Lewis 
asked, "Could the war on dnjgs be a 
diversion from the war on crime?" 

In the sessions on biomolecular ar- 
chaeology, Thomas H. Ley of Australian 
National University, Margaret E. New- 
man of California State University and 
Jerold M. Lowenstein of the University 
of California at San Francisco reported 
on the use of techniques borrowed 
from contemporary crime-lab practices 
in studying blood samples from ar- 
chaeological artifacts. Ancient humans 
sometimes mixed their own blood into 
the" pigments for wall paintings: others 



left blood traces on their stone tools. 
Now, as much as 100,000 years later, 
scientists can use such tools as cross- 
over electrophoresis and antibody ra- 
dioimmunoassay to analyze thai ancient 
blood with results that help spell out the 
details of the story of human evolution. 
In the area of medical technology, 
Richard Wrangham of Harvard Univer- 
sity, Karen B, Strier of the University of 
Wisconsin, Eloy Rodriguez of the Uni- 
versity of California at Irvine, and oth- 
ers described the new science of zoo- 
pharmacognosy, the study of nonhu- 
man animals' ability to select medicinal 
plants to help cure Iheir ills. In some pris- 



Kentucky has 
produced 2 Presidents. 
4\^ce~Presidents, 
and one distinguished 
liquor cabinet member. 




tine tropical forests, wild apes md mon- 
keys eat specific plant products with de- 
tectable medicinal properties when 
they're ill, but not at other times, and 
their use of these plants closely resem- 
bles the traditional practices of nearby 
human native tribes. 

But all those panel sessions weren't 
the end of it. Between the morning and 
afternoon sessions, the meeting sched- 
ule allowed a couple of hours for 
lunch. It was a good idea to eat fast, 
though, because at 1:15 every day 
came the hour-long star turns, the sin- 
gle-lecturer performances on special- 
ized subjects. 



On a typical day you might be con- 
fronted with a choice between listening 
to fvlarvin Minsky on artificial intelli- 
gence, Roald Sagdeev on internation- 
al cooperation in science, Amory Lov- 
ins on superefficient cars, and half-a- 
dozen others' on half-a-dozen other 
great topics, but since there was only 
one of you, there was no way you 
could get to them all. If you wanted to 
hear Hans Mark describe the court of 
Henry the Navigator {perhaps the first 
think tank in history), you had to miss 
Paul R. Ehrlich on population and the 
debate on the age of the Sphinx (one 
side passionately dating it to the reign 
of Khafre on ar- 
chaeological evi- 
dence, the other 
placing it several 
thousand years 
earlier on the ba- 
sis of geology). 
To hear John 
Huizenga debunk 
cold fusion meant 
skipping Donald 
Jensen as he de- 
scribed the tech- 
nique of cleaning 
up the oil spill 
from the Persian 
Gulf War. Listen- 
ing to John 
Sladek (standing 
in for D. Eugene 
Redmond, Jr.) on 
the use of fetal tis- 
sue in the treat- 
ment of Parkin- 
son's disease 
was at the cost of 
failing to hear Tho- 
mas Sheridan on 
tele robots and tele- 
operation — and 
that's without 
even mentioning 
the six or eight oth- 
er lectures sched- 
uled for each 
time slot. 
The writer Gordon Dickson once de- 
scribed his childhood dream of grown- 
up heaven. When he grew up, Dickson 
said, what he wanted to achieve was 
to become a member of some wonder- 
ful adventurers' club. It would be a 
place where he could drop in, after an 
exciting season spent on the Greenland 
ice cap, and share experiences with 
some other club member just back 
from collecting butterflies along the Ama- 
zon or studying the volcanoes of Ha- 
waii, Maybe Dickson's marvelous 
dream club doesn't really exist, but the 
annual meeting of the AAAS is close 
enough, close enough. DO 



irUTGRVIElAJ 



SARAH LEIBOWITZ 

"In years to come, we may look at your genetic profile and say, 

'With your genes, you tiave a likelihood of becoming obese,'" predicts a neuro- 

scientisf who discovered the brain's center of eating behavior 



PHOTOGRAPH BY FRAN COLLIN 



"Ten, even five years ago people fo- 
cused on massive crash diets artificially 
propped up by diet pills. That approach 
just has to fail, We can'l control either our 
appetite or weight like that. We have to 
think in more specific terms: meal one, 
meal two, so much carbohydrate here, 
protein there. And unfortunately," sighs 
Sarah Leibowitz. associate professor of 
neuropharmacoiogy at The Rockefeller 
University in New York City, "maybe even 
some fat." 

What we eat, from breakfast until late 
at night, Leibowitz informs us, is pow- 
erfully driven by brain chemistry. Not 
just what, but how much, how often, and 
even how fast we eat is largely the prod- 
uct of a grand biochemical conversation 
between certain neurochemicals and 
hormones that break down our meals in- 
to essential nutrients and regulate metabo- 
lism. This nonstop dialogue does not mere- 
ly determine whether we feel hungry or 
sated. It actually turns on or off our de- 
sires tor carbohydrate, protein, and fat at 
different times of ttie day or night, 

People eat because it tastes good, be- 
cause they know it's healthy or because 
someone gave them lots of it as a kid. 
Memories, pleasure, social conditioning 
all play a part in pushing us to eat as we 
do. But underlying all the experiential soft- 
ware is something more basic. To survive 
we must generate and maintain a level 
of energy adequate to our changing in- 
ternal and external activity requirements. 
The true goal of appetite and body- 
weight regulation, according to Leibowitz, 
is energy balance, or homeostasis. If 
this sounds a bit mechanistic, that's be- 
cause it is. Yet the same chemicals that 
regulate appetite, metabolism, and 
weight also impact on cur moods, levels 
of stress, physical energy, and the qual- 
ity of our sex lives. "Our emotional life and 
state of mind," says Leibowitz, "will be 
affected by every bite we eat." 

Her mother was a concert pianist and 
accompanied her mother who was a lead- 
ing contralto at the Met. Her grandfather 
was an obscure late-romantic compos- 
er, and her cousin was Samuel Barber, 
one of the giants of twentieth-century mu- 
sic. Born to such blue-blooded musical 



DISCOVERY MOST 
PROUD OF: 

Disturbances in eating 



FOOD 
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aristocracy, Sarah Fryer naturally studied 
piano at Manhattan School of Music and 
elsewhere. When she traveled to Vienna 
to complete her musical education, she 
was "presumed pianist." But suddenly 
at age 20, she turned her back on the 
concert stage, returned to New York, mar- 
ried mathematician Martin Leibowitz, and 
In 1968 got her Ph.D. at New York Uni- 
versity in behavioral neurobiology 

Barely into her postdoc at Rockefell- 
er, Leibowitz accidentally discovered 
that Thorazine injected into the hypothal- 
amus powerfully stimulates eating. Pub- 
lishing her finding in Science, she shift- 
ed her research from learning and mem- 
ory to how brain chemistry affects eating 
behavior. "Learning and memory was so 
broad, so diffuse." she says. "You spent 
a lot of time just arguing your case. 
Well, I just like to prove my easel" 

During the next decade she did just 
that. Her exhaustive, five-year, mapping 
study of the entire brain paid off. Not on- 
ly did she almost single-handedly lay the 
foundation for an entire new area of re- 
search, she did something every neuro- 
scientist dreams of accomplishing: She 
proved that an area of the brain does 
something important that no one had ev- 
er ascribed to it. She showed that one 
hypothalamic region, the paraventricular 
nucleus {PVN), was the pivotal player In 
the brain's intricate network for appetite 
control. "The PVN," says Leibowitz, 
"seems unique in that chemical chang- 
es there almost always correspond to 
changes in eating behavior The PVN Is 
an integrator of behavior and biochem- 
istry involving nutrient and taste pref- 
erence, pleasure, and what have you." 
The PVN "may not be the center of the 
universe" but could well be the center of 
the eating universe. 

Among many other things, Leibowltz's 
research has begun to unmask geneti- 
cally based tendencies toward overeat- 
ing and obesity. Her increasingly precise 
index of key biochemical indicators 
should enable us to predict eating and 
weight-control problems long before 
they occur, and so promises to" revolu- 
tionize their treatment. Our present 
drugs may be only marginally effective 



in controlling appetite and weight, but 
drugs of greater power and specificity, 
sine says, wili iDe synttiesized. And 
they wili help us to treat and control 
specific desires and cravings. 

She did not perform on the piano in 
public for 25 years, but after the death 
of a pianist friend, Leibowitz felt com- 
pelled to give a recitai in her honor. 
Then she was asked to "perform at the 
center in Sweden where they give No- 
bel Prizes." Now, whenever some neu- 
roscientists or feeding people get togeth- 
er, yes, they seem to want Sarah Fryer 
Leibowitztoplay. After she finished talk- 
ing to interviewer Douglas Stein, she Invit- 
ed him to an impromptu minlrecltal in 
the Piano Room at Rockefeller. On the 
way. Stein asked, "What's it like to 
leap from the lab to the concert 
stage?" Leibowitz was quick to answer: 
"Like pulling it out of the hat. The more 
you perform the better you are. But for 
me, it's BoomI, and all of a sudden 
there it Is. I feel like a gymnast doing 
his act fifty feet above the ground with 
no net. Gee, I could use a bit of glu- 
cose — ^you don't happen to have a 
piece of chocolate in your pocket?" 

Omni: Why, in today's health-conscious 
society do we seem to have a greater 
problem with obesity than ever'' 



Leibowitz: Our energy needs are very 
different from those of the farmers, pi- 
oneers, "and soldiers of a hundred 
years ago. If we were out there fight- 
ing and farming, there'd be little fat 
left. It would be burned off, and we 
wouldn't worry about weight. Our obses- 
sion with what to eat is only going to get 
worse because we wiH get more sed- 
entary. From desk to desk, to elevator, 
to train or car, from home and back to 
the office, we hardly have to exert our- 
selves to survive. Yet foods are getting 
more and more palatable. Our society 
is notorious for overeating at night. 
That goes right to fat. We go home, eat, 
and often keep right on eating in front 
of the TV. It would be nice if we could 
modify our marketplace and social make- 
up to have an earlier meal when we 
really need the energy and can burn it 
up, but that seems unlikely. 
Omni: So Americans have reason to be 
concerned about our weight? 
Leibowitz: "Vou bet. A good 50 to 70 per- 
cent of women spend 30 percent of 
their waking hours worrying about how 
to diet. What waste of human energyl 
People pig out in fast-food restaurants 
on the strip or in three-star restaurants 
in the big city only to worry about it lat- 
er. Especially teenagers. They are all ab- 
solutely preoccupied with their weight. 



DIET FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN: 

HOW AND WHEN BRAIN CHEMICALS 
AND HORIVlONES CONTROL YOUR APPETITE 

TIME OF DAY 



FOOD GROUP 



CARBOHYDRATE Desire for: 



Turned on by 
norepinephrine, 
neuropeptide Y, 
Cortisol (hormone); 
turned off by 
serotonin 

Desire for: 

Turned on by 
serotonin, opiates; 
turned off by 
neuropeptide Y, 
norepinephrine, 
dopamine, and 
galanin 

Desire for: 

Turned on by 
galanin, opiates, 
aldosterone 
(hormone); turned off 
by dopamine 



Desire strongest; 

On waking and early 
morning; desire 
decreases as the 
day goes on 



Desire strongest: 

Alternates with 
carbohydrates 
in morning; rises 
gradually toward 
middle of day; peak 
at dinner and 
evening 

Desire strongest: 

Desire for faf 
increases during 
middle of the day 
and predominates 
-in evening 



and now boys, even men, do not es- 
cape this preoccupation. 

I've raised three college-age daugh- 
ters and, fortunately, they've all 
worked out. But what are kids always 
talking about. , . ? "ivly ballet-dancer 
roommate is anorexic and-runs her way 
through the day, and I have three class- 
mates who are bulimic and constantly 
worry about food." Let me tell you, a 
large percentage of our young female 
population has problems. 

As a teenager, when you start to see 
fat on your body it's scary. And socie- 
ty is only going to get worse unless we 
revert to the Rubens ideal and just en- 
joy the fatter body Fat chance! Who de- 
fined beautiful as thin? Yet this is un- 
fortunately exactly the case. Some peo- 
ple have a thin background. I can eat 
twice what the next person does and 
not gain — but that's rare. On the street 
i see terrific, beautiful kids whose lives 
are ruined because of this preoccupa- 
tion, I sure as hell would love to tone 
down all of this hyper-concern. 
Omni: When ypu started Investigating 
how brain chemistry affects eating, 
biochemistry was virtually zero and the- 
ories were mainly psychological. What 
did leaping into a new area at the out- 
set of your career feel like? 
Leibowitz: One very rapidly forgets how 
one was alone. I had no one to direct 
me at Rockefeller. But I also relished fol- 
lowing my own nose and creating some- 
thing new. This was more exciting than 
following in someone else's footsteps. 
I felt the only way to get anywhere was 
to be absolutely precise, go straight in 
and try to pin down the specific brain 
regions where specific neurochemicals 
turned eating on and off. So how did I 
feel? Like I was digging in the dark. 

I began in 1971. The studies pro- 
gressed so slowly because I was com- 
mitted to mapping the entire brain. Oth- 
ers might have mapped two or three 
sites in the hypothalamus, but I inject- 
ed about 20 to 30 sites. At one point I 
was studying about 500 animals — 
brain scientists laughed every time I'd 
mention that, I had no preconceived 
idea, so I went everywhere, and one 
site, the PVM, emerged as a primary ac- 
tivator of eating and drinking behavior. 
Omni: When you first presented this the- 
sis, how did colleagues react? 
Leibowitz: "What is it?" [She panto- 
mimes shock and disbelief.) Then, it 
was gospel that the PVN did one thing 
only: synthesize and deliver oxytocin, 
which triggers milk letdown in lactatlng 
females. To say, as I did, that a neu- 
rochemical like norepinephrine in the 
PVN strongly elicited feeding, was con- 
trary to their thinking. 

Initially I focused mainly on norep- 



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inephrine [NE] and dopamine. In differ- 
ent areas of tine hypothalamus, tfiese 
neurotransmitters had opposing yet bal- 
ancing actions on eating. NE and 
drugs stimulating its actions enhance eat- 
ing and weight gain at one site, where- 
as at another, they suppress appetite 
and lead to weight loss — as do dopa- 
mine and drugs like amphetamine. Over- 
all, NE and its agonists, such as cloni- 
dine, stimulate appetite, while dopa- 
mine and its agonists suppress hunger. 
Omni: Chemicals in the hypothalamus 
were just a part of the appetite- and 
weight-control picture. 
Ljeibowitz: Oh, absolutely. If the hypo- 
thalamus is the controller or Integrator, 
it cant just be involved in neural signals, 
but also has to respond to changes in 
the blood reflecting the animal's nutri- 
tional and metabolic state. Hormones 
are indispensable to converting food In- 
to energy and tissue, so during the mid 
Seventies, we started to remove differ- 
ent glands from hundreds of animals. 
This work told us that hormones are 
needed for neurochemicals to act nor- 
mally in the brain. The adrenal steroid 
corticosterone [Cortisol in humans] and 
norepinephrine, we saw, depend upon 
each other to promote eating. And of 
course, the number of brain chemicals 
found to turn appetite on and off and 



to affect body weight proliferated, 
Omni: Wow did your discovery that spe- 
cific transmitters regulate our desire for 
specific foods emerge? 
Leibowltz: in the early Eighties, I began 
to notice that our animals seemed to eat 
more or less of different nutrients after 
neurochemical stimulation, and also at 
different times of the day or night. Norep- 
inephrine, for instance, was most potent 
in its appetite stimulation right after the 
rat woke up. So I started putting a litOe 
carbohydrate here, some fat there in the 
mix to see if changes in what they ate 
would change their response to the neu- 
rochemicals — and vice versa. After strug- 
gling with various percentages of pro- 
tein, fat, and carbohydrate, we finally 
said In 1985, "Okay, we're just gonna 
have to go with these pure nutrients and 
accept that they are not the most natu- 
ral of diets." And each of these neuro- 
chemicals and hormones has proven to 
be highly specific in stimulating or sup- 
pressing appetite for one or more of the 
macronutrients. 

Omni: You found what one prefers to 
eat turns out to be Inseparable from the 
time of day one wants to eat It. So the 
rat wakes up. . . 

Leibowitz: And he's going — as do you 
or. I in the morning — for a blast of car- 
bohydrate. You don't get up wanting to 




76 OM^JI 



stuff your stomach with a steak or 
huge bowl of ice cream. In the morn- 
ing we are energy depleted because 
we haven't eaten for 10 or 12 hours. 
Blood sugar is low, insulin down, and 
stored carbohydrate — glycogen — inmus- 
cles and the liver is pretty much gone. 
VJe prefer carbohydrate because it's con- 
verted most quickly to glucose, and 
that's what we need to get going. But 
soon there's a switch to protein, and 
then to mixtures of protein, carbohy- 
drate, and fat — like we want for lunch. 
After we've replenished our deplet- 
ed carbohydrate reserves and begin to 
engage in more sustained activities, we 
need to fuel and rebuild our muscles 
and fill our fat cells. As the dinner hour 
approaches, one eats larger and larg- 
er protein and fat meals, with carbohy- 
drate dramatically declining. In these lat- 
er hours, we're looking to store rather 
than expend energy in anticipation of 
sleep. So fat, nature's most efficient way 
of lioarding up calories for future 
needs, becomes the food of choice. 
Omni: How do changes in brain chem- 
istry create and enforce these patterns 
of food preference? 
Leibowitz: Appetite for carbohydrate at 
breakfast is driven primarily by high lev- 
els of norepinephrine in the PVN togeth- 
er with circulating Cortisol. Both chemi- 
cals rise while we sleep and peak short- 
ly after we awake. The food deprivation 
of sleep is a kind of stress. Because Cor- 
tisol's primary purpose is to aid in con- 
verting energy stored in tissues into glu- 
cose for immediate use, it makes good 
sense that this adrenal hormone and 
norepineplirine collaborate to make us 
go for carbohydrate early on, 
Omni: What pushes us to switch over 
to eating protein? 

Leibowitz: At first, mainly serotonin. 
Both serotonin and NE in the PVN rise 
simultaneously during sleep to counter- 
balance each other early in the eating 
cycle. While norepinephrine commands 
us to eat sooner, faster, to consume 
more food In total and more carbohy- 
drate In particular, serotonin pushes us 
to switch over to protein, decreases over- 
all meal size and eating rate, and ends 
the meal. Serotonin not only helps us 
lose weight by turning off appetite as a 
whole, but it also acts by increasing our 
energy expenditure. So early on there 
is a natural back-and-forth tussle be- 
tween carbohydrate and protein eating. 
Omni: Suppose we don't eat for a long 
time after waking up? 
Leibowitz: Neuropeptide Y springs into 
action. NPY, which also works with Corti- 
sol, is truly the neurochemical of food 
deprivation. An animal or person 
whose energy reserves are especially 
depleted by fasting or starvation 

ON FWGE B5 



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... ^..,.^,,0 w^jnty that happens, you had 
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SHt 



dubs "an entertaining 
evening o) Seance Fic- 
tion." For a modest 
admission and the cost of 



IF YOGA HAS GOTTEN A PERSON IN TROUBLE, THAT 
PERSON WOULD HAVE TO RENOUNCE IT FREQUENTLY 
AND BREAK HIS BONDAGE WITH SATAN. HE'D 
THEN NEED TOP 



I ment in the yoga course to 
. Meanwhile. 
I the protest has all but died 
' '•—■n. Mayor Harris h"'' " 

3 car sit out i~ '' 
I during the first I 
to play if-'- ' 



bruisers," to ; 

been very quiet," he:. , 

"No sign of the Devil. I 



iiiUiaiiuiitiisyaHi 



Toccoa Mayor Bill 



senter. The lessons, he people who 



■etching and relaxation 



I that area w 
rit— hopefully the Ljord 
led a week | Jesus Christ.". 

nee the Toccoa story 
- ' -wrence has 




I REACH OUT AND 
TOUCH SOMEONE 



FDONTIEP SCIENCE 



n. i ! i ; i' i ' j ii .i i'r j iw 



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' ■■ ■■■-■ -landtheeffect claims, and tell them what ever, that MacDonald's 
■■■"'^'"" the future portends. This 



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imTERVIElAJ 



needs much more carbohydrate than 
norepinephrine can get him, so NPY, 
which is mucfi more potent and long- 
acting Ihan ME, will take over, driving 
the animal to larger carbohydrate 
meals. Toward this end, NPY also sup- 
presses anything serotonin might be do- 
ing to switch appetite preference to pro- 
tein food. In fact, we have recently dis- 
covered that animals who love carbo- 
hydrate have high levels of NPY in the 
PVN. Neuropeptide Y not only works 
with Cortisol to give you quick energy, 
but since it also raises insulin levels, it 
helps drive that eaten carbohydrate in- 
to stored fat. In the lab, two or more 
NPY injections each day may cause an 
animal to overeat and get fat. 
Omni: Under normal circumstances 
what pushes us to eat fat? 
Leibowitz: The opiates that stimulate 
both fat and protein gradually rise 
through the day People will go for a 
sandwich, cheeseburger, or maybe 
chef's salad, where protein and carbo- 
hydrate predominate — but where ma^^ 
onnaise or fat-rich dressing is jazzing 
up the works. At the late-afternoon cof- 
fee break, people will eat pastry that mix- 
es carbohydrate and fat. Toward din- 
ner, the drive for fat becomes stronger 
slill, because the peptide galanin, 
which stimulates appetite for fat — and 
nothing but fat — is on the rise, 

Galanin and the opiates are coun- 
tered by dopamine in the hypothalamus 
that suppresses both tat and protein in- 
take. But dopamine seems to fight a los- 
ing battle in the later hours. I could 
show you these huge fat meals — ^just tre- 
mendous, of almost straight fat — that 
our animals consume purely as a result 
of a shot of galanin into the PVN. To 
make sure we eat fat during the sec- 
ond halt of the day, galanin not only sup- 
presses dopamine, but also Cortisol, the 
powerful catalyst ol early carbohydrate 
eating. We've recently found that ani- 
mals who eat lots of fat and gain 
weight have high levels of galanin in the 
PVN. Galanin is one of nature's more em- 
phatic ways of making sure eaten fat 
turns into stored fat. It works to de- 
crease energy expenditure at times 
when activity level Is naturally declining. 
Omni: Is there a link between the 
body's thermostat and its "appestat?" 
Leibowitz: Temperature control is a hard- 
wired, indispensable-to-life thing. But 
our sense of how foods make us warm 
or cold is highly emotional. The func- 
tional link of the thermostat and the "ap- 
pestat" is clear in the way our food pref- 
erences change between summer and 



winter. People like the Eskimo consume 
much more fat, but don't necessarily 
get fat. To make one of their favorite des- 
serts, they take walrus blubber, put it 
in a bowl, and knead it, knead it, and 
knead it some more. When it's 100- 
percent fat, they throw on some berries 
to make it a little sweet, then hand 
scoop it into their mouths. Now that 
just grosses me out, but the point is, in 
that tremendous cold, they burn lots 
more fat to generate body heat. 
Omni: You've seen that when animals 
can select what they eat, they show in- 
dividual preferences similarly to people. 
Leibowitz: Our animals fall into three sub- 
groups: About half choose carbohy- 
drates and consume 35 to 60 percent 
of their daily calories in carbohydrates; 
a small group opt for protein; about 30 
percent of the animals eat maybe 60 to 
70 percent of their calories in straight 
fat. Those who adore fat consume the 
most calories and weigh the most. 

Fat lovers consume a huge, over- 
whelmingly fat meal during the seventh 
hour of the eating cycle, a time when 
food consumption in the other two sub- 
groups hits bottom. This seventh-hour 
fat meal fascinates me because the neu- 
rochemicals that control it may hold the 
key to what is really different about 
those who love fat and become obese. 
Galanin is obviously a major suspect, 
but maybe it's also low dopamine. For 
people, this is the later afternoon, 
when there's a lull, and activity in the 
workplace is dying down, fvlany re- 
searchers have focused on carbohy- 
drate binges here, but this may be an 
oversimplification. The afternoon 
snack may mask a "pre-craving" for lat- 
er fat urges. Perhaps it's a preliminary 
surge priming a person to consume larg- 
er amounts of fat late into the night. 
Omni: Do chemical abnormalities 
you've found in these studies correlate 
with overeating or obesity'' 
Leibowitz: Yes. We know that overeat- 
ing best corresponds to raised levels of 
specific norepinephrine receptors in the 
PVN. These animals also show raised 
levels of galanin and NPY Now the Zuck- 
er rat, a genetically obese strain, also 
shows raised NE and NPY and en- 
hanced expression of both the galanin 
and NPY genes after puberty So both 
the overeater and the genetically obese 
rodents consume an excess of fat and 
turn an excess of eaten carbohydrate 
into extra body fat. And both show ab- 
normal levels of Cortisol and another ad- 
renal steroid, aldosterone. But are 
these neurochemical and hormonal 
changes the cause or the consequence 
of overeating and obesity? 

To clarify this, we've started to work 
on newborn animals. The Zuckers 






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show some neurochemical and hormo- 
nal changes even at weaning, and 
they're already fat at puberty. We think 
this situation will hold for people. 
Those tending toward excess eating 
and obesity will show it early on, but the 
neurochemical and hormonal excesses 
and deficiencies will unfold In stages 
from early childhood to early adulthood. 

In our studies with developing rats, 
we've found their patterns of nutrient pref- 
erences and weight gain are apparent 
at a very early age. Whether an animal 
has a strong preference for fat or car- 
botiydrate in adulthood is apparent on 
the first day after weaning. Also, 
weight gain during the first few days af- 
ter birth predicts the body weight of the 
adult. It's interesting that animals that 
love to eat sweet solutions at an early 
age are more likely to gain weight and 
become fat later on. 
Omni: Are girls and women more likely 
to gorge themselves with sweets and 
guys to indulge in orgies of steak stuffing? 
Leibowitz: Hey some women just love 
a large steak! I myself can't stand it. But 
yes, In our studies with young animals, 
we've found that females love carbohy- 
drate, possibly because of their great- 
er adrenal activity and higher NPY lev- 
els. This is different from the males, who 
love protein to build muscles. Only af- 
ter puberty do the animals begin to eat 
lots of fat. 

V\bmen are more vulnerable to car- 
bohydrate abuse. Males go for the 
heavy mixes of protein and fat. Wom- 
en are just set up to crave sweets, and 
thai will lead to abuse. Late-afternoon 
carbohydrate snacking and dinging is 
much more common in women. Many 
seem to need carbohydrate on a regu- 
lar basis throughout the day, but oth- 
ers skip breakfast and pay later. The cir- 
cadian element is a big factor in eat- 
ing problems. The Zucker rat can't go 
without eating because it has a flat cir- 
cadian. It eats constantly day and 
night; it's just lost the natural rhythm. 
Omni: Why are crash diets and pills so 
ineffective? 

Leibowitz: This is a crippling trap peo- 
ple get sucked Into. They feel, or are 
made to feel, hornble about how they 
look. They start dieting, vow to hold out 
as long as possible, and then when a 
craving becomes unbearable, resort to 
so-called appetite suppressant drugs. 
In the short term, food restriction is go- 
ing to put you in a psychologically al- 
tered state. You're going to respond dif- 
ferently to almost everything. Skipping 
breakfast changes the pattern of neu- 
rochemical and hormonal interactions. 
The rhythm of alternating carbohydrate 
and protein meals is derailed at ifie out- 
set, The longer you fast, the higher sub- 



stances like galanin, NPY, and Cortisol 
will climb. So when you start eating 
again, it's tremendously difficult not to 
eat large meals of carbohydrate and fat 

Diet pills don't work because every 
meal and appetite for it is regulated dif- 
ferently, so you'd need different pills or 
combinations at different times of the cy- 
cle. What do people use? Either over- 
the-counter stuff, whose active ingredi- 
ent, phenylpropanolamine, is basically 
fake amphetamine, or prescription 
drugs — tfiings like antidepressants and 
serotonin agonists. All have one big prob- 
lem; They target only monoamines — 
dopamine, norepinephrine, and seroton- 
in — and have little or no effect on the 
neuropeptides or steroids. Supermarket 
pseudo-speed aspires to mimic dopa- 
mine, suppress protein and fat eating. 
But even if successful, it doesn't oper- 
ate early in the day and doesn't sup- 
press carbohydrate cravings. 

Antidepressants that generally raise 
both norepinephnne and serotonin may 
actually lead to weight gain. Specific ser- 
otonin imitators work well on reducing 
carbohydrate meals but may have little 
dampening effect on the larger protein 
and fat meals. Serotonin drugs may in- 
itially reduce overall appetite somewhat, 
but the question is, are they effective 
in controlling body weight over a long 
lime? Attempting to lose weight on 
these compounds is really a struggle, 
Omni: What about blockers against 
galanin and NPY? 

Leibowitz: Because the neuropeptides 
are so much more potent and long- 
acting and specifically target fat eating 
and deposit, drugs suppressing their 
synthesis or blocking ttieir receptors 
hold great promise. Effective antago- 
nists will definitely help people. Unfor- 
tunately, so far, we don't have any for 
galanin or NPY, Even if we did, there's 
the problem that peptides, as small pro- 
teins, would be digested in the gut be- 
fore they ever reached the general cir- 
culation. Even if we gave them intrave- 
nously, they wouldn't reach their sites 
of action in the brain because peptides 
don't pass the blood-brain barrier. 
Drug companies are working fast and 
furiously to make drugs that are not pep- 
tides, but mimic them. 
Omni: Have you felt an Increased 
need to help people? 
Leibowitz: I've always felt a need to 
heip people. Yet I wrestle with thai ques- 
tion daily: How should we use what I've 
learned? I went through years trying to 
learn about how the brain worked. My 
interest in where and how these neuro- 
chemicals act and interact — drove me. 
I resisted for a long time the temptation 
to say "I want to solve obesityl" I felt 
out of place at "feeding" meetings, be- 



L 



where and how they act and interact — 
drove me, I resisted for a long time the 
temptation to say, "I want to solve obe- 
sityf'lfeltoutof place at "feeding" meet- 
ings, because for me, feeding was a 
topi to understand the brain That pure 
drive continues to be of paramount im- 
portance to me 

Now I've come around to trying to un- 
derstand feeding and body-weight reg- 
ulation. Last fall, the National Associa- 
tion for the Study of Obesity and The 
Society for the Study of ingestive Be- 
havior merged, i was asked to speak 
about the brain mechanisms controiiing 
fat intake and their relevance for appe- 
tite and weight gain in people. Each 
year 1 speak at more of these meetings, 
so, yes, I'm now a legitimate "feeding 
person " I clearly have to be more than 
a neuroscientist. 

Omni: Can your findings now be ap- 
plied to people? 

Leibowitz: Although present drugs are 
only marginally effective in controlling 
appetite and weight, drugs of greate' 
specificity and power are on their way 
They will enable us to target and treal 
specific desires and cravings. We now 
have the tools for defining the neuro- 
chemical profile for every meal in the 
day or night. Right now, we could be- 
gin to predict and possibly counter pec- 
pie's problems early on. We can pre-' 
diet height at two years of age, and 
with a few more tools and analysis of 
eating patterns in infancy, we may be 
able to predict adult- eating behavior 
and weight gain. Say a person has a 
fat-intake problem: Can we retrain him 
with behavioral or drug techniques to 
restrict his fat intake? If we can get 
them early enough, we may be able to 
teach them not to enjoy fat quite so 
much so they won't just have to have 
it. If we can predict that we're going to 
love to eat this or that in the morning 
versus the evening, we can plan tc eat 
somewhat differently If we must have 
that fat, perhaps it should be earlier 
when we can burn it more and there's 
less galanin around to reduce our me- 
tabolism. These neurochemicals can be 
modified by what we eat so that they 
begin to work with, rather than against, 
you. If we can set a strategy, a routine, 
for months and years to come, then we 
can work with it. If suddenly we decide 
to change everything, such as with a 
crash diet, we're in for trouble. That's 
what dieting is for most people. NO EAT- 
ING; NO EATING TOMORROW! 
Omni: Is genetic analysis becoming a 
part of this? 

Leibowitz: My lab is looking at gene 
expression for galanin. NPY, and other 
chemicals at earlier and earlier ages. 
We "are also examining how hormones 



control the expression of these genes, 
Perhaps in years to come we'll be able 
to look at your genetic profile, analyze 
the relevant part of your chromosomes, 
and say, "Oh, because your genes are 
thus, you have a high likelihood of be- 
coming obese." Then someone clinical- 
ly involved might say, "Okay, if you eat 
2000 calories a day, you'll be X 
weight, maybe even X percentage of 
fat, at age 20. So here's the program I 
suggest you follow. . . ." 

This kind of early intervention has 
frightening implications. Once we 
know what we're going to become, we'll 
certainly worry about it. Unless the strat- 
egy is carefully planned and super- 
vised, there's potential for causing im- 



mense suffering. Knowing what we're go- 
ing to become long before we become 
it could whisk us down the road to a high- 
ly regimented existence. 

Once we find a gene, we can spend 
years trying to define the physiology the 
gene is controlling. Also we may define 
a gene that encourages obesity, per- 
haps controls insulin or steroid secre- 
tion, fat deposition and energy metab- 
olism. But another gene very likely de- 
termines the desire to eat fat. 1 believe 
this will be a multigene process, that 
there is no single gene for obesity. In 
the end, we will have to treat the whole 
person. And neuroscientists, biochem- 
ists, and geneticists will need to work 
closely together in this process. DO 



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lent stirrings, seductive in their 
rhytlims, and am alraid to enter. Beside 
one, a man in a conservative blue suit 
wields a dagger, slicing the abdomen 
of a young boy. Red doves and oil ex- 
plode from the wound. Plants with 
teeth shatter the pavement, paper gar- 
bage grows wings and flaps off into the 
night sky. An old man scurries past, 
bleeding from a dozen cuts, clutching 
a television set to his chest; in a bright- 
ly lit restaurant seven sheiks and their 
veiled women begin dancing to a tune 
by Prince. 

Tfie street noise has reached a cres- 
cendo ( "I'm not getting a response! 
Code Blue! Stat!"). Time to escape, I 
know, but I am still frightened of the 
doors; I did not plan to escape this way 
My legs are cold, as if immersed in 
chill water, my thoughts are eddying, in- 
substantial, and I feel I am shrinking in- 
side my skin I buy a sword from a mid- 
dle-aged man with a bushy Stalin mus- 
tache and a fancy uniform. The sword 
helps stem my fear, settles my disso- 
lute feeling. I turn toward one of the 
doors and spot an Arab man in camo 
gear standing beside it, A soldier, a vet- 
eran. His eyes are blurred like dirty win- 
dows in rain. His deep wounds are in- 
visible. As I approach, his eyes clear 
to smoked glass and I see the shocks 
of combat stirring in them, seductive 
rhythms that echo those I have 
glimpsed beyond the doorways. Like 
me, he is no longer political, I know I 
can trust him, and staring at him, I lose 
my fear, I yield up my last hopes, my 
fond memories — oh, the times I've hadi 
Somewhere in the packed mosaic of 
states, a bar mirror clouds with the 
smokes of my regret. This soldier and 
I have not even language in common, 
but as new and brighter shocks singe 
the skin above my heart, sending me 
jumping like a fish stranded in that oth- 
er world, we confide in one another, we 
share the holy knowledge of the fallen. 
This, we say, entering the door, still cau- 
tious, unsure, yet growing more secure 
on sipping the cool air of the courtyard 
into which we move, as vast and ill- 
defined as the temple at Karnak or the 
Valley of the Moon . . . this is horror, we 
say, this is the black answer, the abyss, 
the undoing, but we also understand 
that this is resolution, this is peace, 
this is how all nightmares must end, 
how all good dreams begin in the sea- 
son of the Hellfire missile, in the false 
spring of the American spirit, in the age 
of Saddam Hussein. 

— Lucius Shepard 

88 OMhJI 



THE PRESERVATION OF LINDY 

My second wife, Mariana, wanted to 
have a holographic preservation made 
of us but I told her, lirst, we couldn't af- 
ford it and, second, I didn't believe in 
preservations. 

I knew I should have mentioned the 
one of my daughter, Lindy, kept in the 
spare room. Finding me in it made her 
angry and jealous; there are some 
things that she doesn't understand. 

I hadn't visited Lindy for a long time. 
The courtship and marriage to Mariana 
had brushed the past aside, Bui the an- 
niversary of Lindy's accident made me 
want to see her again. 

Once a nursery and then my first 
wife's sewing room, crammed with 
Jake's and Lindy's childhood things, 
spare blankets, suitcases, an outdated 
encyclopedia, the room was nostalgic 
and quiet. I found the frame and, after 
moving a bookcase and a box of old 



il have 

scratched and scratched 

in my mind 

to remember the real 

Lindy, but 

it all is overshadowed 

by the 

vividness of the portrait.? 



clothes, I managed to set it up. 

Standing before the slatted door, I 
hesitated a long while. Vi/hen this por- 
trait had been made, no one had 
known that Lindy would -only live an- 
other few months. 

The perfection of Lindy's preserva- 
tion stopped me from seeing or hear- 
ing my little girl any more. Either I had 
been a distant father or Lindy a perfect 
child; no tantrums, grazed knees, or em- 
barrassing events with boyfriends 
came to mind with any clarity. Like a per- 
sistent clamoring bell, Lindy behind 
this door has drowned out all other mem- 
ories of her. I have scratched and 
scratched in my mind to remember the 
rea/ Lindy but it all is overshadowed by 
the vividness of the portrait. It is all I 
have of her now. 

Which was why I was philosophical- 
ly against Space-Time-Sensory Preser- 
vation Portraits. Ttiey are loo strong, too 
real. They wipe out the ephemeral and 
confused process of human memory by 
being too good. 

I opened the door and stepped Inside. 



Lindy sat at a plain table. A touch of 
suilenness tipped her mouth as she 
looked down at paper art prints on the 
tabletop. She was tidy, clean, her 
clothes soft and comfortable looking, 
her thick brown curls bursting out from 
a blue half-turban. Her face and nose 
were long, like her mother's, but her 
chin and hair and solid tall frame were 
from my family 

She didn't move at first but her eyes 
locked up from the table to me, the be- 
holder of the preserved moment. 

Lindy smiled. "Hello," 

One could see a hint of the teasing, 
tart fun in Lindy's personality. She was 
nobody's fool but she liked to laugh. 
Then she shuffled the papers together 
and placed them on a square paper- 
weight, which had been under tier el- 
bow. Her feet shifted on the tile floor 
with a soft scraping sound. 

The presen/ation flickered, like a bad- 
ly cut film, as the loop started to run 
again. Again Lindy leaned forward, 
gaze on the table. I walked around the 
table to behind her She looked towards 
the door. "Hello." 

I saw the mole on the back of her 
neck, just visible when she sat up 
straight and tilted her head. I saw the 
indentations in her skin where her elbow 
had rested on the paperweight. On the 
floor behind her was her handbag, 
worn on the strap. Out of the pocket jut- 
ted a corner of the book thai she had 
been reading that day I couldn't read 
the title and, out of curiosity wanted to 
pull it out of the bag but I knew that 
there was nothing really there to touch. 

I circled back to her face. Her 
hands and lips appeared slightly 
chapped. It had been winter at the 
time of the preservation. Rain fell on the 
window, the skies were gray and the 
roofs of neighboring houses wet. I 
heard water dripping from our eaves. 

A flicker. Her eyes raised. "Hello," 
she said again. 

As I stood there, a memory within a 
memory the ring of lasers stared at me 
from the floor. I felt odd, seeing them 
make the record — as if 1 had intruded 
and the next time I would be in the pres- 
ervation, too, 

I heard an unexpected noise and 
saw Mariana, my wile, peering through 
the slatted door. I was immobilized by 
her look of wordless fury. She stared 
first at Lindy, then came inside. 

She turned to me, I was trying to 
think of an explanation when she put 
her face very close to mine, looking at 
me intently, 

"Mariana?" I said, uncomfortable in 
her scrutiny 

She screamed, suddenly, shortly, 
and bit her knuckle as if to stop herself. 




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Then she grasped both my hands, 
"Good God! It's really you, isn't it?" 

I laughed, realizing fhat she had 
thought I was part of the preservation. 
Lindy was shuffling prints, again as I 
swept my hand in introduction. "Mari- 
ana, meet my daughter, Lindy. Lindy, 
this is your stepmother." 

Flicker. A sullen look ■ and then' 
Lindy's eyes raised again. "Hello." Her 
gaze was just off Mariana's face. 

"I thought you didn't believe in pres- 
ervations," Mariana said irritably. 

"Well, I don't. This is why This is all 
I can remember of my little girl. One 
memory, that's all." 

"I thought you said you couldn't af- 
ford them," she continued. . 

"No, we can't." I looked at my wife. 
She wasn't happy with me. Could I ex- 
plain? "You don't understand the pow- 
er of these things. They have such a 
presence that they wipe out all natural 
memory. Like seeing yourself in the mir- 
ror every day — it's always a shock 
when you see a photo five years old 
and realize that you have aged. You 
just can't remember. I can't remember 
anything about Lindy. Nothing that 
feels rea/ anyway." 

"That's silly. It's like not believing in 
photographs or anything not written 
down." 

Mariana watched as I collapsed the 
door, lasers, and viewing milieu into 
something barely larger than a good 
world ailas^all containing Lindy, her 
prints, her table, the gray rain on the win- 
dow, and the neighborhood beyond. As 
I slid it on the top of a wardrobe, I 
thought, goodbye for now, Lindy, sweet- 
heart. 

"You wouldn't want to be reduced to 
just this, would you?" I asked her. 

Mariana just gave me a sharp look. 
It wasn't the last I heard of'her wishes. 

One morning, several months later, I 
opened an envelope and told Mariana 
the news. We had a refund from the tax 
office, a free and handsome windfall. It 
wasn't often that there was good news 
about money. 

Immediately, she said, "Wb can afford 
a double'preservation portrait then." 

I had forgotten the entire issue but 
from her promptness it was obviously 
uppermost in her thoughts. 

"I thought I told you thai I don't be- 
lieve in them." 

"B t you have one of your daughter " 
Experience is the reason I don't be- 
eve n them." 

Why don't you throw it away?" she 
ha enged. "Or let Jake have it?" 

Jake, my son, lived in a different 
pace every six months. He would lose 
t, ndy wittiin a year. I opened my 



mouth to say so but Mariana, the im- 
pending storm now fully developed with- 
in her, threw her napkin on the table 
angrily. 

"You don't care about having any- 
thing to remember me byj" she said, 
"You never photograph me, you never 
have kept any notes or cards that I 
gave you, you don't even look at me any- 
more!" 

"Mariana! Not true!" I said. "I don't 
want anything but you to remember. I 
want to see your face every day, not 
some unreal thing. Just this morning I 
was watching you sleep and thinking 
how lucky I am. I was remembering the 
day that you came to dinner and we sat 
on the floor, listening to — " 

"Words, words!" she said, weeping 
and sounding completely forlorn and 
wounded. "Just go and spend your mon- 
ey on whatever you like!" She ran out 
of the room. 

Had I really neglected her so badly'^ 
I was devastated to discover that she 
was so hurt by what now seemed to be 
my pet quirk. 

It took all the tax money plus a bit 
of savings to do a single portrait ol 
Mariana. 

I asked for something simple and 
everyday. 

In. her preservation. Mariana stood at 
the window in .our front room and 
pulled the heavy curtains open, her 
arms outstretched, her back slightly 
arched. Mature, yet lithe — beautiful, el- 
egant, casual. The sun came in on her 
face, diffused by the lace curtains. She 
turned her head and smiled at me lov- 
ingly pleased to be asked at last. 

It used to remind me of how she 
looked when she first came to visit me, 
months before we were married. It was 
a beautiful memory before it faded. 

1 believe in preservation portraits again, 
Lindy was a special case. She 

didn't outlive her preservation and her 

loss was such a shock. 

But Mariana lives on and on; I see 

her face every day in various moods, 

aging and growing a little sour and 

impatient. 

I am happy that we preserved my 
bride Mariana. She doesn't know how 
the memory sustains me. 

— Leigh Konnedy 

THE DESERT OF TIME 

"As time machines go — " she sniffed, 
allowing the first fragment of an expres- 
sion not pure misery to show through 
the tears, the sobs, the hysterics she 
had ground him down with for what 
seemed hours and hours now — "it's 



very — how do you say? — user friendly." 

Although, back in Utah, he had 
friends in the Computer Science De- 
partment who said things like "user 
friendly," it wasn't a term he was prone 
to say at all. 

The expression was on the left side 
of her mouth and over her right eye- 
brow. Where she sat on the iron-frame 
day bed, looking down at her hands 
that had gotten red from twisting and 
wringing at one other. It was already 
breaking up on her face. Though it was 
not quite a smile, in the hot air reach- 
ing from the sandy wastes outside into 
the whitewashed room that held them 
in its silence, he tried to grasp it, hold 
to it, wondering desperately (as he did 
each time she seemed, for a moment. 
somehow closer to what he could rec- 
ognize as logic and ordinary sense) 
how he might bring it into a smile and 
then on into flowing and liquid laugh- 
ter. She could laugh so beautifully. But 
now, it was so long since he'd seen it. 
"What you're trying to tell me is that I'm 
not a very lucky tourist on a fluke vaca- 
tion from a wife, two kids, and a gradu- 
ate teaching assistantship in the Paint- 
ing Department at the University of 
Utah; and you're not from that kibbutz 
you keep telling me isn't in Israel, But 
rather — now let me get this straight — 
you're a time traveler from a different 
planet who — " 

But the tears and the noise of her cry- 
ing smashed out again at him and she 
huddled back on the day bed (even in 
an inexpensive guest house forty kilo- 
meters outside Marrakesh, he had 
hoped for better beds), with a violence 
that made something in his chest knot 
to pain, thai made a kind of ache 
pulse low in his throat to a rhythm that 
was not his heart. When it had begun, 
he'd really thought it was some sort of 
joke, which is why he'd even bothered 
to go into it. But now, so much later, she 
was still sitting there, sobbing— and he 
was still standing there, lost in the ugly 
vacuity of her crying and, yes, crazi- 
ness. A beautiful, black-haired girl, he 
thought, an artist like himself, intelligent, 
fun — and a five-day affair that, he was 
sure they were both sure, would have 
no repercussions once she took off to 
Zimbabwe and later thai same after- 
noon he caught the bus to take him to 
the ferry that would get him across to 
Sicily to meet up with Nancy — only now, 
it seemed, she was crazy! 

This woman with the perfect English 
and the charming accent was starkly 
ravingly institulionalizable, complete 
with little green men and lime machines 
and flying saucers. 

Then his legs began to shake. So he 
sat down, a little harder than. he intend- 



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ed, on the rug by the low teak table 
with the tarnished brass tray. 

She was saying (between the hic- 
cups that had repeatedly come and 
gone throughout tier upset), "A whole 
different dimensional matrix," or some- 
thing like it, And then: "You tool — you 
fooir 

"I thought," he countered again (he'd 
said it many too many times, already), 
"you'd lite it— that you'd be pleased. Re- 
ally. I didn't know it would upset you 
so," He was sweating; The neck of his 
light-weight cotton shirt was soaked, 
and the cloth clung, too, to the small of 
his back — though the single sentence 
he'd repeated in each of the letters and 
postcards he'd written that week had ex- 
plained how, because of the dry heat 
here, you hardly perspired at all. 

He looked at her some more, be- 
cause under the onslaught of her 
tears, after he'd grown used to feeling 
helpless, that was all there was to do. 
Her black hair, fluffy around the little 
cap she always wore, he'd thought 
quite lovely: It was still . . . lovely. He 
knew she didn't pluck her fine eye- 
brows — because, back at home, Nan- 
cy did. (Whatever little problems 
there'd been with Nancy, stalled three 
years now on her master's thesis, not 
to mention the kids, there'd never 
been anything like this. It was supposed 
to have been so easy He really want- 
ed to get back; it seemed absolutely for- 
ever since he'd seen her. But he was 
not wilh Nancy now. He was here. 
With . . . her. He took a breath.) Her rath- 
er long face was — yes, intelligent was 
the word. Wot beautiful. Intelligent. On- 
ly now it was puffed and teary from 
what, he gathered, checking the ludi- 
crously ornate quartz clock the guest- 
house manager had hung on the back 
wall, was about ten minutes into the 
next hour of hysterics. 

But, again, she was a little quieter. 
He thought: I can only try once more 
"Darling," he said. He'd started calling 
her darling because it sounded kind of 
thirties, and he was really into no/rand 
stuff; then it had become habit, the eas- 
iest thing to repeat. "I'm an artist. You 
showed me those pictures you said 
you'd made— and I thought you were 
an artist, too. An artist likes to have his — 
or her — pictures seen by people You 
said you would like to be famous and 
known throughout the world — you said 
it would be fun. You had two sets. You 
said I could look through one. Vifeil, I 
have this friend who works at one of 
those slick, fancy American magazines 
in New York . , , with all the advertis- 
ing? That beautiful self-portrait you did, 
of you looking at the picture — I just 
thought I'd take it and send it to her. 

92 OMNI 



She might want to see that one. They 
pay quite well, and everyone can use 

a little money . . . ? It's just the kind of 
thing they'd like. Really But that's all. 
Look, if she writes you that she wants 
to use it, you can always say no. Or 
that someone else has already bought 
it. Or that It was a mistake. Or — " 

"A whole different dimensional ma- 
trix . . ." she was repeating, shaking 
her head, 

"Look," he said, suddenly "this busi- 
ness about time machines and the pic- 
tures being part of it— you look at this 
one or that one, say the right magic 
word, and suddenly that's where you 
are— that's wonderfully imaginative, dar- 
ling. But ifs also crazy That's . . . just 
not how time machines work! They 
have . . . dials, and levers and things. 
Strange chairs inside ornate cabinets 
that you have to climb into. Test tubes, 
I think. And bus bars: Time machines 



iThen, 
because it really was 

crazy 
what she was saying, 

he stood 

up suddenly, turned, 

thinking: I 

can't take this any more. 9 



are very old fashioned, you know — " 

But she was leaning forward, clap- 
ping her hands (again and again) in a 
desperately imploring manner. "I 
wasn't going to Zimbabwe, when 1 left 
here," she cried, almost like someone 
not crying. "I was going to Delft. Sev- 
enteenth Century Delft — but that 
doesn't matter. How many times have 
I told you that. I'm not an artist — I'm 
just very interested in the art of this very 
strange, odd and bizarre, bizarre, ter- 
ribly bizarre world. Oh, please try to un- 
derstand. The two sets— those from one 
set get me there. I look at it, say the — 
yes, fight magic words, that's what it 
would seem like to you. And I arrive. 
Then the second set allows me to 
leave. Some different words this time. 
Time machines aren'l old fashioned! 
They employ a very delicate, very so- 
phisticated technology. But it's the re- 
production: If the pictures are ever re- 
produced, all the energy gets — " 

Only here, because it really was cra- 
zy what she was saying, he stood up 
.suddenly, turned, and walked into the 



next room, thinking: I can't take this any 
more, I can't take this, I can't, the 
words coursing through his mind again 
and again and again. In was not the 
first time he'd found himself having to 
flee her logic or her tears. 

But — in the other room— she kept on, 
trying to explain, once again, her voice 
low (because she didn't want the hys- 
terics to overtake her once more; real- 
ly she didn't): " — the energy is dis- 
sipated. That self-portrait was me. leav- 
ing here. If it's ever reproduced, in hun- 
dreds, in thousands of copies, even in 
the future, as long as it's in the same 
time line, then the releasing energy is 
cut by hundreds, by thousands of per- 
cent; and I — and you and everything 
around me — get trapped in the bit of 
time i was visiting between the two pic- 
tures, don't you see, just going around 
and around, never able to leave it, go- 
ing through the same time, just before 
the picture, again and all over again. 
And we never get out. Oh, I know it 
sounds impossible. But it is true. It is! 
Oh, how many hundreds and thou- 
sands and millions of times do I have 
to Sellyou it's true — " at which point the 
full terror of it burst in on her . again. 

And— again — she cried and shook 
and howled and huddled like some 
mad desert creature caught in the im- 
ported iron jaws of a trap from a wholly 
alien northern clime and culture. 

And again in "the front room, he took 
a breath, in his soaking shirt, sat down 
ai the desk (again), and wrote his sev- 
en billionth letter explaining that in the 
dry heat here you did not sweat. And 
his twenty-eight billionth post card. 
Then — again — he went back in to talk 
to her. — Samuel Delaney 





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dragons and that her attacking Immune 
cells were knights bearing iances. 

Although It doesn't always work, the 
use of guided imagery can help even 
the most desperate of patients nurture 
a fighting spirit and a will to live. As 
Stephanie Simonton puts it, "There's no 
such thing as a false hope. In the ab- 
sence of certainty, hope is simply a 
stance you take toward an unknown out- 
come." For anyone with a life-threaten- 
ing disease, this is an essential and po- 
tentially life-saving truth. 

You don't have to resort to hypnotism 
to begin to use your brain as a weap- 
on in the battle against aging. Program- 
med relaxation techniques like medita- 
tion, which are actually similar in many 
ways to self-hypnotism, may do the 
trick in and of themselves. When the psy- 
chologists Charles Alexander of the Ma- 
harishi International University In Fair- 
field, Iowa, and Ellen Langer of Han/ard 
University taught transcendental medi- 
tation (TM) to a group of octogenarians 
in eight Boston-area nursing homes, 
1 00 percent of those who practiced TM 
for 20 minutes a day were still alive 
three years later, while 38 percent of 
their peers who did not meditate had 
passed on. This is reminiscent of leg- 
ends of Himalayan yogis using similar 
techniques to live more than a hundred 
years. "Of course, these stories have to 
be taken with a grain of salt," Alexan- 
der says, "but meditation does seem to 
extend life." 

Alexander is one of a growing body 
of scientists who believes that we can 
muster the power of our brains to stay 
healthy to heal ourselves when we're 
sick, and, quite possibly, even to ex- 
tend our life expectancy, I'm definitely 
in their camp; in fact, I think that the guid- 
ed-imaging techniques of the Simon- 
tons and the hypnotic approach of 
Casler are just the beginning. I'm con- 
vinced that within the next ten to twen- 
ty years we'll gain such a thorough un- 
derstanding of the mind-body link — 
and develop such powerful techniques 
for strengthening and exploiting that 
link^that spontaneous "miracle 
cures" will become more and more fre- 
quent, and many of us will actually be 
able to use our minds to effect what 
amounts to the ultimate cure: to add 
length to our lives DO 

HOW TO GET LONGEVITY 
Longevity by Kathy Keeton, published 
by Viking, is available for £24 plus post- 
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BAnnes 



ODD ENDS: 

Readers' puzzles and something new about the penny and the queen of spades 

By Scot Morris 



This month, we presenl 

some reader contributions 
and other new puzzles. 
(Answers at right.) 

1. MAP AMERICA GAME. 
Our column on wordplay last 
May inspired Kelly P 
Ronayne of Alexandria, 
Virginia, lo create the puzzle 
at right, a poem hs calls "An 
Inebriated State." Can you 
decode it? 

2. NAME GAMES: The 
same column led Roy 
Maltby of Calgary Alberta, 
Canada, to note that the 
words "nights" and "things" 
have the same letters but 
have no phenomes in 
common. All six letters have 
different pronunciations in 
the two words. When I 
related Maltby's puzzle to 
Will Shoriz, the editor of 
Games magazine, it remind- 
ed him of a puzzle of his 
own. The clue is "Army 
training camp tor Hitler 
youth." The answer is two 
words that rhyme but share 
no letters in common. What 
is the answer? 

Lloyd King wrote from 
Oxon, England, to submit 
several original puzzle 
ideas. Here are three of his 
most challenging. 

3. MISFIT Which Is the 
odd one out? 

A TOR 
B SHOP 
C RATE 
D RECTOR 
ESIGN 
F ANTIC 

4. COMPLETE THE 
SERIES: 

E g n g 

Choose from these: 

i 5 g H 5 






5. WHAT What is the next 
word in this sequence: 
REDDEN, SEAM, BLEW. 
HATRED, DENSE, AMBLE? 

6. ODD, Marc Glass of 
Jeffersonvtile, Pennsylvania, 
asks which of the following 
numbers is most different 
from the others: 

1)0NE 

2) THIRTEEN 

3) THIRTY-ONE 

7. BREAD BREAK, After 
devouhng the German 
translation of Omni Games. 
Tim Schumacher of WIttnau, 
Germany, wrote to offer this 
deceptively simple problem. 
Three men hiking in the 
desert decide lo have lunch 
together. One man has five 
loaves of bread. The second 
one has three loaves. The 
third man has eight coins 
but no bread. He proposes 
they divide the eight loaves 
into three equal parts, and 
he'll give the eight coins to 
the other men in exchange. 
How many coins will the first 
man get, and how many will 
the second man get? 

8. HORSE AROUND, Mel 
Stover of Winnipeg recently 

/. \ 



showed us this new tabletop 
puzzle (below left). He 
arranged five toothpicks to 
create a horse pointing 
toward the left. Can you 
move just one toothpick to a 
new position and leave the 
horse oriented in another 
direction? 

9. PENNY ANTE. Spina 
new U.S. penny on a flat, 
glass tabletop. When it 
comes to a stop, will it more 
likely be heads or tails? The 
odds areni 50-50, 

10, YOUR CARD, SIR. 
Magician Stan Cohen of 
Washington, DC, has seen 
something new in the cards. 
On all decks made by the 
U.S. Playing Card Compa- 
ny, the queen of spades 
appears to be holding a 
card with six spades on it. 
This leads to the following 
trick. Cohen removes a 
card from a deck and puts 
it face-down on the table. 
He offers another deck 
(stacked), and you pick a 
card— the 6 of spades, "My 
prediction is on the 
face-down card," he says. 
You turn it over and it's the 
queen of spades — holding 
the 6 of spades, 

ANSWERS 

1 . Substitute the postal 
codes of the pictured states 
and territories and get this 



short poem: 

de.mo.n d.ar.k 
s.ca.nd.al mi.ne, 
mo.uth i.nh.al.in.g a. 
ne.ct.ar. wi.ne, 
vi.ca.r i.n m.or.al hi.de. 
de.al.in.g a. 
vi.ctor.ia.nc.hi.de, 

Ronayne's name for this 
puzzle form is itself a slhng 
of postal abbreviations: 
MA.P A.ME.RI.CA. GA.ME. 

2. Nazi ROTC 

3. Put letters in the 
spaces to make six words: 
ACTOR, BISHOP CURATE, 
DIRECTOR, ENSIGN, FRAN- 
TIC, Obviously FRANTIC Is 
the odd one out because all 
the others are occupations. 

4. 2. To complete the 
sehes, read it in a mirror: 

5 E r I E 5 

5. WHAT is the next word 
in the sequence. The first 17 
letters (from the "R" of 
REDDEN to the "T" of 
HATRED) are repeated in 
the same order. 

6. The number 2, (It's the 
only even number,) 

7. The first man gets 
seven coins and the second 
man one. Every loaf of 
bread is divided into three 
pieces, totaling 24 pieces. 
Each man gets eight pieces 
of bread to eat. At the 
beginning, the first man has 
five loaves (15 pieces), and 
the second one has three 
loaves (nine pieces). The 
first man eats eight of his 15 
pieces himself and gives 
seven to the third man. The 
second man, eating eight of 
his nine pieces, gives only 
one piece away. Thai's why 
the first man gets seven of 
the eight coins, 

(Answers 8 and 9 will be 
given next month.) DO